I’m pleased to welcome author Ben Gartner to the blog, with his latest exciting release, The Eye of Ra! Be sure to check out the novel, the gift card giveaway, and a guest post on fiction from the author below!
The Eye of Ra by Ben Gartner
GENRE: Middle Grade
Exploring a mysterious cave in the mountains behind their house, John and his sister Sarah are shocked to discover they’ve time traveled to ancient Egypt!
Now they must work together to find a way back home from an ancient civilization of golden desert sand and a towering new pyramid, without parents to save them. The adventures abound—cobras, scorpions, a tomb robber, and more! The two kids have to trust each other, make friends who can help, and survive the challenges thrown at them . . . or be stuck in ancient Egypt forever.
For readers graduating from the Magic Treehouse series and ready for intense action, dive into this middle grade novel rich with meticulous historical detail.
Up ahead, almost like an optical illusion in the rocks, a black oval dissolved into the mountain. It seemed to shimmer in the fading sunlight.
“What . . . is it?” John asked, taking a step back.
Sarah moved forward. “It—” She stepped closer, hunching to get a better look at the dark shape about the dimensions of the full-length mirror they had on the back of their bathroom door. “It looks like a cave. Cool!”
“Careful, Sarah. We shouldn’t go in there.”
“That’s a great idea,” Sarah said, standing upright and walking toward the mysterious black shape.
“No, wait, I said we shouldn’t go in there.” John turned to walk away. But he couldn’t leave his sister. “We should get Mom and Dad.”
“I’ll just peek in,” Sarah said, standing only an arm’s length from the entrance. “It definitely looks like a cave, or maybe an old mining tunnel or something. I don’t remember this from before.”
“Come on, Sarah.” John’s tone sounded more urgent now.
Sarah stepped closer, slowly, her lips parted and her eyes fixed on the cave.
Without another word, Sarah stepped across the threshold, and her body disappeared into the black.
Ben Gartner is the author of adventure books for middle graders and thrillers for adults. His writing for both audiences shares an ability to grab readers by their neurons for a thrilling ride, maybe even teaching them something in the meantime. Ben can be found living and writing near the mountains with his wife and two boys.
All available for pre-order except Amazon, which will be available on publication date.
The book is $2.99.
Ben Gartner will be awarding a $30 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Why do facts make fiction better?
(aka “Why factual accuracy in fantastical stories makes them more immersive and intriguing.”)
The day I stop learning is the day I die. Maybe that sounds a little morbid, but it’s held true so far and to prove it: I’m still alive! Learning can, of course, come in many forms, from deep life lessons bestowed by our elders to trivial oddities gleaned from perusing the dictionary such as the fact that ambergris is upchuck from a whale and yet used in perfume as a fixative (it’s true, look it up). While I most certainly appreciate the fables of those more experienced at life than I am, it’s the little odd details in our world that tend to get my imagination whirring. THE EYE OF RA was born from such a whir.
While working with my son (who is now 12, but was 11 at the time) on a new novel concept, I found myself researching the very first pyramid ever built—the Pyramid of King Djoser in Saqqara, Egypt. Wikipedia is a great place to get lost down rabbit holes of wonder and this is where my mind’s eye was attracted to a little bit of history called the Heb-Sed (cf. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_of_Djoser#Heb-sed_court).
The Heb-Sed festival in ancient Egypt gives new meaning to the phrase “run for your life.” Some Egyptologists claim that if an older pharaoh couldn’t “complete the course then they were no longer fit to rule and would be promptly sacrificed, to make way for their younger, fitter successor” (cf. https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/78244/why-pharaohs-were-made-run-around-their-palaces-every-3-years). Or maybe the Heb-Sed was an evolution away from that practice: “The ancient festival might, perhaps, have been instituted to replace a ritual of murdering a pharaoh who was unable to continue to rule effectively because of age or condition” (cf. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sed_festival). Still pretty gruesome, no matter how you slice it.
And there you go, you just learned something. I guess you’ll live another day.
Besides interesting factoids like the Heb-Sed, THE EYE OF RA is also chock-full of action and adventure. A tale about a brother and sister who must learn to trust each other and face the challenges of ancient Egypt, or be stuck in time forever. “What good middle grade is all about,” said one ARC reviewer. On sale now wherever books are sold!