Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow
Jake Ransom can’t wait to start vacation from his middle school. He definitely has more important things to do, like find out what really happened to his mom and dad. Three years earlier, his parents had been on an ancient artifact dig in Central America when their camp was attacked. Believed dead, Jake and his older sister, Kady, mourn them every day. An envelope arrived a few weeks after the attack containing the last gift their parents would give --- two halves of an ancient coin --- which Jake and Kady wear around their necks to remember them.
But Jake is determined to find out what really happened in that remote camp three years ago, and to do that, he decides he must become as much like his parents as he can. So Jake studies everything they studied, learns about archaeology and anthropology, biology and more. And he is thrilled when the mysterious invitation arrives, inviting him and Kady to the opening exhibit of the artifacts found by his parents three years ago. But neither he nor Kady could possibly guess the adventure into which they were about to stumble.
One of the artifacts at the exhibit is a replica of a pyramid. And on that pyramid is an indentation that just happens to match the two coin halves Jake and Kady wear around their necks. They try placing them in the pyramid, and without warning, they are transported into a strange place filled with fascinating history and lost civilizations, plenty of adventure and danger, and new friends. In the process of trying to find a way home, Jake and Kady even discover a clue to their parents’ disappearance. But before they can piece together any plans, the evil Skull King discovers a way to penetrate the city’s defenses and attacks with his army of terrifying grackyls. And the Skull King’s ransom demands? He wants the city to hand over Jake and Kady into his clutches.
Bestselling author James Rollins introduces an outstanding new series and an amazing new hero in Jake Ransom. He is quoted as saying, “For Jake, I saved my wildest and best adventure of all.” And he is true to his word. Prepare to join Jake on a fast-paced, mind-boggling, heart-pounding thrill ride filled with history, monsters, battles, evil bad guys and, most importantly, family and friends. Jake is likable right from the start, with his energy and enthusiasm, kind heart, courage to be himself, and unquenchable thirst for knowledge and adventure. The pages are refreshingly short of the verbs “was” and “were,” and instead are filled with powerful action verbs and colorfully vivid descriptions. Rollins keeps the pages turning with cliffhangers and mysterious clues.
This is definitely a series to jump into and start enjoying right away. Fans will be excited to know that Jake’s next adventure, JAKE RANSOM AND THE HOWLING SPHINX, is in the works.
Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on April 28, 2009