CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 37 . . . . June 2, 2017
The Egyptian Warrior is a further title in the "Warrior Heroes" series by Benjamin Hulme-Cross. The combination of ghosts, historical eras and time travel creates an action-filled novel for middle years readers. The readability of the text, including black and white illustrations by Angelo Reinaldo, will attract struggling and reluctant readers in this age group.
The Egyptian Warrior begins with Arthur and Finn listening to the ghost of their great-grandfather explain the conflicts experienced in ancient Egypt with the Nubians. The ghost that the boys will encounter is that of an Egyptian teen, Thamose. His father was an Egyptian Pharaoh, and his mother was Nubian. Thami's kidnapping by the Nubians, orchestrated by the Pharaoh's high priest, resulted in a declaration of war that led to the death of thousands. Arthur and Finn need to travel back in time to Thebes to prevent that war.
Chariot rides, a lion hunt, crocodiles and capture by the Nubian general are a few of the adventures the boys experience. When Thami and Arthur are taken captive, Finn and the prince's sister, Nefi, are faced with a dilemma, especially since Finn was thrown from his horse and has difficulty walking. Do they rescue the other two, or do they go back to the palace to convince the Pharaoh that the kidnapping and demand of a ransom was the plan of the high priest to ensure a war between Egypt and the Nubians? If the Pharaoh, who had never fought in a battle, leads his army, there is a high risk of his death, with one outcome being power for the high priest.
Understanding the story relies on readers' having some background knowledge about ancient Egypt. The study of ancient civilizations is part of middle years social studies curricula, but many readers of this age group have both experience and interest in this topic through a variety of media and print sources. Factual information on the river Nile, chariots, the social groups and the Egyptian gods is provided in the form of Extracts From Warrior Heroes, by Finn Blade, interspersed throughout the book. The narrative and dialogue help connect readers to the key characters.
The Egyptian Warrior provides an action-filled adventure with a reasonable length and a manageable readability. Some of the historical content can prove confusing, and the violence in some parts may be upsetting to some. The ending seems hurried with a large amount of information regarding the plot against the Pharaoh packed into the final chapter. As this might be confusing to a struggling reader, support or discussion at points throughout the novel would assist with the understanding of the high priest's plot.
Janice Foster is a retired elementary and middle years teacher and teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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