The Lost Cipher

Michael Oechsle. Albert Whitman, $14.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-8075-8063-9
When 13-year-old Lucas Whitlatch, whose soldier father died in Afghanistan, arrives at Camp Kawani, a place for grieving children, he finds more than the camp’s brochure promised. As legend has it, a trove of gold and silver is buried somewhere in the surrounding Blue Ridge mountains, but the details are hidden in coded messages known as the Beale ciphers (which are real, newcomer Oechsle explains in an author’s note, though the story is fictional). Finding the treasure would provide more than enough money to fulfill Lucas’s last promise to his father: to look after his grandparents and “take care of their mountain, too,” which is in danger of being lost to strip mining. Along with the threat of Gideon Creech, an ill-tempered local rumored to shoot trespassers, Lucas and his new friends, goofy George and kind Alex, face panthers, copperheads, and a persistent camp bully while learning about themselves and finding unexpected ways to connect and heal. Occasional rough language (“bullcrap,” “pissed”), graphic images, and strong emotions surrounding loss are balanced by plenty of humor and heart in this compelling adventure. Ages 9–12. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/07/2016
Release date: 05/01/2016
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-8075-8065-3
Show other formats
Discover what to read next