AUTHORS: Laura J. Burns and Melinda Matz

PUBLICATION DATE: September 11th, 2018

PUBLISHER: Wednesday Books/Macmillan

GENRE: Adventure, thriller

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Memphis “M” Engle is stubborn to a fault, graced with an almost absurd knowledge of long-lost languages and cultures, and a heck of an opponent in a fight. In short: she’s awesome.

Ashwin Sood is a little too posh for her tastes, a member of an ancient cult (which she’s pretty sure counts for more than one strike against him), and has just informed Memphis that her father who she thought was dead isn’t and needs her help. 

From the catacombs of Paris to lost temples in the sacred forests, together they crisscross the globe, searching for the pieces of the one thing that might save her father. But the closer they come to save him—and the more they fall for one another—the closer they get to destroy the world.



First of all, how beautiful is that cover? There’s a very interesting scene associated with the snake, and every time I look at the cover I think about that scene.

The description of this book is very vague, so I went in not really knowing a whole lot. It is told in the third person, which I was not expecting so it threw me off a little. I do prefer the first person POV, but it wasn’t too noticeable. (for those who feel the same way) When the POV’s switched, in the beginning, it was a little confusing but I got used to it.

The first bit was very interesting. M and Ash are introduced to us and each other. You get to know the idea of the plot fairly quickly. They go to a place, face an obstacle, overcome it, and move on. It becomes repetitive, but I did like learning about all the cultures.

Ash is Indian, and a part of the book takes place in Kerala, so I was really happy with the Indian representation! (I’m also Indian for those who don’t know)

I feel like there should have been more conflict with humans. There was conflict between the main characters, but other than the cult of Set there was no other conflict with people.

One thing I felt like the book needed is more characters. I’ve come across books with too many characters, but never one that didn’t have enough. I do understand that the plot is perfect for two characters, but I think more characters would have given the book more layers.

Overall, I did enjoy reading this book. It was fun to learn about different places. There was a lot that happened in the book, so it took me a while to finish, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. It is very similar to Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider, and Percy Jackson, so if you liked those you might want to give this book a try!

Scroll down to read an excerpt from the book!


Laura J. Burns and Melinda Matz have written many books for teens and middle-grade readers, including Sanctuary Bay, Crave, and Sacrifice, as well as the Edgar-nominated mystery series Wright and Wong. They have also written for the TV shows ROSWELL, 1-800-MISSING, and THE DEAD ZONE. Laura lives in New York and Melinda lives in North Carolina, but really they mostly live on email, where they do most of their work together.


“You shouldve seen Miss Memphis here get into it with Nick last period, Brianna said, squeezing in between M and Inez at their usual spot in the cafeteria. “She shut him down with her crazy ancient cultures voodoo.”

“He’s an ass. He’s lucky he’s hot,” their friend Ayana commented, waving her spork in Nick’s direction.

M shrugged. “I wouldn’t try to debate him in Physics. I just know more about Rome than he does.”

“What about AP Chem? Would you debate him in that? Inez asked in a fake-serious voice. “Would you debate him in German class?

“She’d debate him in German, in German, Brianna joked. “And if he tried to fight back, shed switch to Greek.”

M threw a French fry at her. “I can’t help it. I grew up speaking different languages.

“And learning about pharaohs. And becoming well versed in the history of the Etruscan people,” Ayana said, putting on a fake accent that was probably supposed to be British. “Oh, and setting broken bones in the bush.”

“That only happened once,” M muttered. Her friends laughed.

“Anyway, it was epic. Thanks,” Brianna said. “I cant stand fighting with people, and Nick always goes after me.

“He knows you hate it, M pointed out. “That’s why he does it.

“An ass, like I said.” Ayana shrugged.

“You think he’s coming to the party tonight? Brianna asked.

Probably. Everyone else is, Inez replied. Even Memphis. M made a face. “Anything to get out of the house. Bob and Liza would expect me to play board games with them otherwise.” Her friends exchanged a glance. M winced. “No


“Oh, were you offending someone?” Nick piped up from behind her. “Good girl.”

Immediately Bri looked down, while Ayana rolled her eyes. Inez just smirked, glancing back and forth between M and Nick.

“I was not offending anyone. I only meant I don’t like parties,” M said. She didnt bother to turn toward him. It didn’t matter; he inserted himself onto the bench next to her anyway. A little tingle ran up her spine as the scent of his co- logne hit her nostrils, spicy and warm.

“Mmm, they’re boring. Everyone talking about the prom or the senior trip or whatever. I’m over it, Nick said.

Me too, thought M, wishing she didnt agree with him. She loved her friends, but even they were all about high school. M just didnt care. High school was nothing more than what she had to get through before she could leave. After the crash, after the shock of Bob and Liza becoming her guardians, shed asked if she could go off to college early, either Boston University or the University of Sheffield in England. Both had the kind of archeology program she

wanted and wouldve let her in with no questions. They knew her father. They knew high school was a waste of time for someone like her.

But her guardians said no. They said she needed stabil- ity and normalcy after losing her dad. Never mind that traveling the world and taking care of herself was normal for her. While she and Dad technically lived in Boston, she’d never spent more than a few months there during the school year. They traveled. Half the year spent on digs. She missed it.

“What’s with this thing, anyway? Is it to fight off bad guys? Nick teased, finding an excuse to touch her. He reached for Ms collapsible bo staff, tucked in the inside pocket of her jacket like always. But before he touched it, be- fore his flirty smile registered in her mind, M had already grabbed his hand, twisted it back to the breaking point, and used the pain to push him off the cafeteria bench and onto the floor. With her other hand, she whipped out the stick and shoved it up against his throat.

M froze. He’s just hitting on you. Her friends were aghast, and everyone nearby watched, openmouthed. Nicks eyes were wide with panic.

Sorry. M stood up, leaving Nick on the floor. “I’m really sorry.”

“Freak, he muttered, climbing to his feet. He glanced around, noticing the barely concealed laughter from onlook- ers. Jeez, I just wanted a fry,” he joked, as if he hadn’t been humiliated, then hurried out of the cafeteria.

“What. The. Hell?” Inez asked. “He was flirting with you and you beat him up!”

“I know.” M groaned, shoving her staff back into her pocket. “I didn’t mean to. It was just reflex.”

Her friends were silent. Shed freaked them out. Should she explain the years of self-defense and martial arts train-

ing? That she and Dad ended up in some rough places? Her friends lived in a city, they understood danger. Sort of. In a nice, upscale Boston kind of way.

M sighed. There was no point in trying to explain. No- body understood her life.

“You kinda push all the guys away, Brianna pointed out quietly. “Maybe not like that, but still . . .

“I dont do romance, M replied. She was done with love, period. She’d loved her parents, and they were both gone. Love hurt too much. It was better to steer clear of it.

They all ate in silence for a minute.

“I mean, he is an ass,” Ayana said finally. And everybody laughed.

M: You up?

MIKE: It’s a 12 hr time difference. Of course I’m up.

M: Like you never sleep in on weekends.

MIKE: Fine, your text woke me.

M: I don’t think that glyph is a lotus. It’s bending the wrong way.

MIKE: It has to be a lotus. If it’s not, the whole phrase is wrong.

M: The rest of the phrase never sat well with Nefertum anyway.

MIKE: Your dad said it was a lotus.


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