Book Review: School Library Journal

1 October 2007

   VOELKEL, J. & P. Middleworld. 391p. (The Jaguar Stones Trilogy, Bk. #1). illus. maps. appendix. bibliog. glossary. Smith & Sons. Oct. 2007. Tr $17.95.

Gr 5–9—Max Murphy is the 14-year-old spoiled and self-centered son of archaeologists who are Ancient Maya experts. Although his parents believe he is headed for summer camp, his enigmatic Central American housekeeper instead sends him to visit his uncle in San Xavier (based on present-day Belize), where his mother and father have recently departed for a new project. Once there, Max discovers that they have disappeared under mysterious circumstances. He joins forces with Lola, a native girl whose ability to navigate the jungle and the rainforest prove invaluable. Max is drawn into a life-or-death battle to rescue his parents from the Ancient Maya underworld and save the country from coming under the rule of the 12 Lords of Death. Suspense and intrigue, human sacrifice, smuggling, and secret doors and escape routes through pyramids ensure that the novel, the first in a projected trilogy, is likely to win legions of fans, who will gravitate toward the nonstop action that echoes Max's beloved video games. Seven full-page illustrations and numerous line drawings help break up the text. The authors include illustrated information on the Maya's calendar, pronunciation, math, writing, and cosmology.

Ellen Fader, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR