Eloise McGraw brings to life the days of Ancient Egypt in her mystery about Ranofer, a young orphan who lives near the Nile River. When Ranofer’s father dies, his mother having already passed away, his wicked half-brother Gebu takes him into his home. Ranofer’s father had worked as a great goldsmith, and Ranofer has dreamt of following his in footsteps. Unfortunately, Gebu has other plans.
Gebu uses Ranofer to steal gold from a local shop. When Ranofer discovers that he has been part of a thief’s plot, he resolves to find a way to inform on his half-brother. Ranofer’s search for evidence, however, reveals even greater crimes that put his life in danger. It is only with the help of a young friend and an elderly confidant that Ranofer succeeds in exposing Gebu’s crime ring and in making a new life for himself.
McGraw’s suspenseful novel incorporates every aspect of life in Ancient Egypt, including religion, fashion, eating habits, politics and social customs. She makes evident the importance of the Nile River to the Egyptians, demonstrating its central position in their lives. Students will find her story complements well what they learn about this great civilization in history class.
Jennifer Minicus is a mother and teacher currently living in Ridgewood, NJ.