Secrets of the Tombs 2: The Dragon Path by Helen Moss

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Secrets of the Tombs 2: The Dragon Path by Helen Moss

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: Exotic locations, fabulous ancient mysteries and more than a dash of deadly peril – exactly the kind of book you need after a long hard term at school. In this, the second in the series, Ryan and Cleo travel to China and get closer than is strictly comfortable to the Terracotta Army and some very nasty fire-breathing dragons. And there's lots of fascinating information about spy-codes, tomb mounds and booby traps to be gleaned along the way!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 272 Date: June 2015
Publisher: Orion Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781444010411

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They don't actually intend to have an adventure: quite the opposite, in fact. As far as fifteen-year-old Ryan and his friend Cleo are concerned, being chased by bad guys and falling down deep holes is seriously over-rated. But they're on their way to China with their parents anyway, so they can hardly refuse when Cleo's grandmother asks them to put a jade bracelet she's had for eighty years back where it belongs. Where's the harm?

Ryan's best friend Cleo may be a complete genius with a mega-sized brain stuffed to the edges with facts, but there's no getting away from it: she's a complete and utter klutz. Put her within a hundred yards of a hole and she'll fall down it. Present her with a river, and it's guaranteed: within five minutes she'll soaked to the skin. But towards the end of this thrilling tale, she outdoes herself, and falls into . . . well, we don't want to spoil the surprise, but it's certainly something pretty weird! Not that gentle but goofy Ryan, with his flair for drawing and his gift for making friends wherever he goes, is exactly immune from accidents this time, and it's a wonder their parents don't insist the two young people cart a complete first aid kit and maybe a paramedic or two along whenever they step outside. Cleo's archaeologist parents and Ryan's mum, who's a journalist, are all busy examining an ancient burial site in China, leaving the young people with plenty of time on their hands (when they should be studying and revising for exams, but it's all learning, isn't it?) to run up against a sinister gang of robbers, various suspicious museum officials, and even a monster that cries like a new-born baby. It makes a banquet where they're offered the local delicacies of tripe, duck gizzard and congealed sheep's blood seem quite tame in comparison.

This is one of those brilliant books where likeable young people who are so real they could be in your class at school get to wander around the most amazing places on earth. There are thrills and danger at every turn, but along the way, and quite without noticing it, the reader finds out all kinds of cool stuff, like the fabulous treasures emperors stashed in their tombs for the afterlife, and what revolutionaries tucked inside their mooncakes. You discover how Louis XIV and Napoleon communicated safely with their allies, and why some Chinese people avoid certain numbers. But the book is, first and foremost, a rip-roaring, white-knuckle quest, and should definitely be top of the list for holiday reading this summer, whether you're curled up in the back garden on a deckchair, or yachting in the Caribbean.

Ms Moss is far too good a writer to make the second book in her series hard to follow without the first. References to the earlier adventure pop up apparently casually, and only when needed, so by all means start reading if this is the only book you have to hand. But the first book, Secrets of the Tombs: The Phoenix Code is very good, and it would be a pity to miss it. And then, if you fancy more stories of clever kids who really know their archeology, but this time with a generous dollop of fantasy, you could move on to Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow by James Rollins and Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx.

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Buy Secrets of the Tombs 2: The Dragon Path by Helen Moss at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Secrets of the Tombs 2: The Dragon Path by Helen Moss at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Secrets of the Tombs 2: The Dragon Path by Helen Moss at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Secrets of the Tombs 2: The Dragon Path by Helen Moss at


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