Lost in Petra
The Anatolia Steppe Mysteries series debuts with this craftily plotted novel crammed with mistaken identities, false leads, enigmatic clues, and narrow escapes. Eleven-year-old Ana arrives in Jordan to join her archeologist mother, who has been hired by the government to create a traveling exhibit of artifacts from the lost Nabatean civilization based in the city of Petra, which became lost to history following an earthquake 2,000 years earlier. When her mother fails to meet her, Ana opens a package from her containing a cryptic message and an object Ana later discovers is an ancient relic that may lead her to hidden Nabatean treasure—and her kidnapped mother. Accompanied by Gordy, the son of her nanny, Ana embarks on a quest that involves evading alleged villains, deciphering an ancient zodiac, and pulling off death-defying physical feats. The protagonists are realistically drawn and engaging kids, and Ana's clipped, present-tense narrative moves at a snappy pace in this winning blend of history, mystery, and adventure. The authors leave several pieces of the puzzle missing, paving the way for the second installment of this promising series. Ages 6–12.