Serpent's Gold by Sam Osman
|Serpent's Gold by Sam Osman|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Linda Lawlor|
|Summary: Wolfie, Tala and Zi'ib are still fighting to defend the ley lines. But this time, their hidden enemy is bent on separating them, and persuading one of them to accept the darkness. It will take every ounce of their strength and courage to remain faithful to their destiny, and to each other.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368||Date: July 2011|
|Publisher: Marion Lloyd Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Most children probably know more about Hindu gods and Creation myths than they do about ley lines, so there is a whole wealth of new information and ideas to be found in this series of books about the adventures of Wolfie, Tala and Zi'ib. Ancient beliefs about stone circles and megaliths, magic circles, the Great Pyramid at Giza and the Knights Templar are linked through these mysterious lines with modern sites like Battersea Power Station and the Tate Modern as our three heroes battle the forces of wickedness.
The three green-eyed children were brought together from across the globe by a mysterious prophecy in the first volume, Quicksilver, and little by little they discover that they are guardians, whose task is to prevent bad people from using the power of the lines to control the world. But evil has its own strengths, and in 'Serpent's Gold' it uses the children's desire to find their missing parents to distract them from their destiny, pulling them apart and threatening to scatter them once again across the continents.
The book opens with a heart-stopping scene where Wolfie's suburban back yard is invaded by a razor-clawed black panther. Elvis, the family dog, chases the cat away, but it reappears around the area, causing Wolfie and his friends to suffer not only terror but also the stomach-clenching nausea that evil provokes in them. The three children are connected empathically by the curious pendants they wear, which resemble riven stars and which came from another planet, and if one of them experiences a strong emotion, the other two feel it too. Other gifts, like the ability to speak and understand all sorts of different languages from modern Arabic to hieroglyphics, cause all sorts of embarrassments until they learn how to conceal and control them for use in their quest.
Wolfie's mother reports the sighting of the panther to the police. But matters aren't helped by the intervention of her elderly lodger Remus Forester, who is the editor of a magazine about earth mysteries. He is prone to lecture anyone he can get hold of at length on topics like cosmic energy and Bronze-Age rituals, and at first the whole thing is dismissed as a publicity stunt. But soon more worrying events occur. Wolfie's mother falls ill, and the doctors are unable to identify what is wrong. The children begin to argue among themselves, and are unable to decide whether to concentrate on bringing their parents back to this world from Lupus or on cleansing the dark contagion which is darkening the leys. And a new character, Missy, turns up: is she a force for good or for evil? Or just a cute but rather spoiled rich girl?
The books are an excellent mix of the extra-terrestrial and fantastic with a down-to-earth London setting, and this gives a strong feeling of authenticity to these thrilling adventures. The three children are well-drawn, particularly Wolfie, and secondary characters like Dame Esme and Elvis the dog are rounded and interesting in their own right. The search for clues, and the fact that many ancient symbols and designs are still being incorporated into modern buildings like the Stock Exchange will provide thoughtful readers with a rich vein of further exploration and thought. The only slight problem is the curse of the second book: the need to recap on large amounts of information from volume one, plus all the new facts and theories needed for the current plot. These, of necessity, slow down the story a little. Still, there is plenty of action, with clues and puzzles and dramatic rescues, all set in places which will be familiar to many readers from their own lives – definitely a good read.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: There's a lot of information in 'Serpent's Gold', which is the second volume in the series. But if you read the books in order, starting with [Quicksilver by Sam Osman|Quicksilver]], then it all fits into place much more easily – and you can skip some of the information-filled paragraphs in book two. Another tale which is well grounded in everyday urban life with a splash of fantasy is Divine Freaks by Fiona Dunbar, where the heroine discovers she has a very disconcerting gift, right in the middle of a Biology class!
You can read more book reviews or buy Serpent's Gold by Sam Osman at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Serpent's Gold by Sam Osman at Amazon.com.
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