Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Mummy Snatcher of Memphis and The Maharajah's Monkey by Natasha Narayan

Synopsis - The Mummy Snatcher of Memphis

When Kit Salter and her friends peek at a famed mummy in a museum chamber, they are shocked to discover rattles and moans coming from the box ...Inside is an Egyptian stowaway, determined to return a looted scarab and save his village. When the mummy is stolen too, the ensuing adventures puts the children fast on the heels of a villainous East End mob, and right into the heart of the Western Desert. But as the story climaxes in a temple, the villains and Kit find they have underestimated a stronger force - the terrible power of ancient Egypt.With a wonderfully spirited heroine and a cast of batty aunts, French adventurers and music hall villains, this is a fabulous first book in an exciting series set during the Age of Empire. Over the course of the next three books, Kit and her friends will hunt for soma, the elusive elixir of immortality, on the slopes of the Himalayas; solve the mystery of the Marie Celeste among pirates on the high seas, and track Inuit warriors through the Arctic wastes. They will battle to outwit their arch rivals: the ghastly Baker Brothers, collectors linked with slavery and opium running.

Synopsis - The Maharajah's Monkey

Dark secrets at the maharajah's palace...Lost treasure and a bear attack in the Himalayas...And a naughty Indian monkey, filled with an ancient evil...When world-famous explorer Gustav Champlon disappears just before a trip to India to find lost treasure, Kit Salter is determined to discover why. Tiny footprints in Gustav's room put her on the trail of a naughty Indian monkey. Before long she and her friends are aboard a steamer to India, on a quest to find the monkey and save Champlon. Welcomed into the palace of the boy Maharajah, a fabulous adventure ensues: Tiger hunts, court intrigue and a mountain expedition to find the lost paradise of Shambala...

These are two genuinely fun, over the top, action packed and intelligent adventures for younger folk written by Natasha Narayan. Set during the almost steampunk Victorian age, Kit and her friends have the opportunity to go on a vast array of adventures and get into all sorts of trouble.

My favourite, as well as the one I had the most trouble with initially, has to be The Mummy Snatchers of Memphis. I had trouble with it because I had to get into the way the author wrote, which initially I thought would not appeal to me. First person point of view, yet slightly removed and tongue in cheek. So after the first few chapters, imagine my surprise when I was sailing through the book at a rapid pace. And it's since become a firm favourite as it's introduced me the very funny Kit Salter and her group of friends.

Kit's a very clever, indulged and slightly precocious character that gets into a variety of scrapes. Some bits were genuinely funny, startling snorts of laughter from me during my commute.

The author takes us on a gamut of historical places throughout both novels, interspersing genuine characters with fictiontal characters, letting us piggy back on Kit's coat tails as she goes from one scrape to the next.

Her companions, Waldo, Rachel and Isaac, are worthy side-kicks and each one comes with his faults and strengths to help Kit through her various adventures.

I've just been to the publishers - Quercus - website and spotted that there is another Kit Salter adventure out later this year. I am very pleased. These pocket sized books with their fantastic covers are very deceptive in that they made me think they would read far younger than they actually did.

I was really surprised by the quality of language, the rich history and information that the author managed to impart throughout both books. It never felt laboured or dull. The chapters are decently sized pieces, ideal to be read out in class or before bed. For confident readers these will make ideal books to pick up on their own. As it's historical adventures, they'll also learn a bit more than they anticipated...of course, they shouldn't know this before the time.

The Maharajah's Monkey is as much as Mummy Snatchers but with the added bonus of a naughty monkey and some wild excitement. Set in India it follows Kit and her friends as they try and unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of Gustav Champlon. I loved that the group of friends rely on each other and are so fearless, even in tough situations.

What can I say? I had fun reading them. I wholeheartedly approve of Kit, her odd family and her true friends. I hope you do too.

Find Natasha's website here and Quercus' stunning new site can be found here.

No comments: