Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow, by James Rollins
Three years ago, Jake and Kady Ransom’s parents vanished without a trace while on an archaeological dig in Central America. But before they disappeared, the young siblings were sent journals and two halves of a Mayan coin that they now where around their necks. When the teens are invited to an exhibit honoring their parents’ discoveries at the British Museum in London, they recognize an artifact from their parents’ journals. And when they place their coin halves in a convenient spot on the artifact, the siblings are mystically transported to a strange land with various cultures across Earth’s history. Jake and Kady not only need to find a way to get back home, but find themselves involved in this new world’s fight against the evil Skull King.
Calypsos is home to several historic cultures such as the ancient Maya, Romans, Vikings, Native Americans, Neanderthals and even dinosaurs. Very much like “Land of the Lost,” this world has its own secrets and mysteries that seem to multiply the more that Jake learns. Jake is a great character – smart, eager to learn, brave, and loyal. Rollins has done an amazing job of making history and research fun and full of adventure at the same time. The simple, crude drawings throughout the book add to the story as well.
As a fan of Rollins’ adult thrillers, I had high hopes for this new series. And I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed. There non-stop adventure and suspense, fantastic characters, interesting cultures, and fun mysteries. Marketed for middle readers, it’s enjoyable for readers of all ages. I loved every minute of it. The explosive final showdown was a highlight for me. And ending in with a minor cliffhanger, readers will be clamoring for the next adventure in the series, hinted at in the final pages of the book.
Update: For a limited time, the first book in the Jake Ransom series can read in its entirety for FREE here: http://bit.ly/9OYyGw