Fifteen-year-old Paul Jaeger and his friend, Jonas, frantically attempt to escape the war-torn city of Berlin. The date is 1945. Stumbling on an abandoned mine just outside the city, they climb down the shaft into an enormous cavern. Here they are astonished to find a huge stash of paintings, statues and boxes filled with jewels and other treasures, including a large blue crystal stone. But before they have time to look around, Paul trips over a wire. Booby trap! They run for the entrance as the mine explodes!
Now the time jumps to the present day. Paul is taking a trip with his grandchildren, driving across Canada to Alberta. As they live in Boston, their first stop is Niagara Falls. Along the way their grandfather regales them with stories of dinosaur discoveries in Alberta and the paleontology museum in Drumheller, which they plan to visit. The children, Josh and Erica, notice the blue crystal stone in their grandfathers key chain, but he refuses to talk about the war, saying only that the stone reminds him of a friend.
More than a reminder, however, as Jonas suddenly appears at their hotel in Niagara Falls, looking for the stone. He explains to Pail that the stone is part of the legendary Mask of Kulkaan, which supposedly came from Atlantis and was shattered when Atlantis was destroyed. When put back together, the mask is believed to have incredible powers. A sinister group called the Crystalline Order is trying to collect the last few missing pieces in order to take over the world. As Jonas continues his explanation, four men suddenly break through the door, managing to kidnap Jonas. Paul and the children escape in the night, heading for New York City, then possibly the Mexican rainforest. Can they follow Jonas’ instructions and find the last few pieces before the Order’s enforcer? And what will happen to Jonas?
This fast-paced adventure will capture the reader to the final page. As each adventure unfolds, the roles of the children, Josh and Erica, become more involved. The myth of the mask as well as the story of Atlantis will capture the imagination and should promote interesting discussion. Author, Simon Rose, has managed to create another fascinating, suspenseful story, which should be a popular addition to an elementary school library collection.
Resource Links, October 2009