Fiona Ingram was born and educated in South Africa, and is a full-time author. Her interest in ancient history, mystery, and legends, and her enjoyment of travel has resulted in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, the first in her exciting children’s adventure series—Chronicles of the Stone.
Book Award Nominations & Wins:
- Finalist Children's Fiction USA Next Generation 2009 Indie Book Awards
- Finalist Juvenile Fiction USA National Best Books 2009 Awards
- Winner Pre-Teen USA 2009 Readers' Favorites Awards
- Number 2 in the USA Children's & Teens Book Connection Top Ten Favourite Books of 2009 for Kids, Tweens & Teens
- Winner Silver Medal Teen Fiction 2010 Nautilus Book Awards
- Finalist Children’s Fiction 2010 International Book Awards
- Winner Bronze Medal Pre-Teen Fiction 2010 Moonbeam Book Awards
- Finalist 2011 Rubery Book Awards
- Winner Gold Award Mystery Pre-Teen 2011 Children’s Literary Classics Award
- 2nd Place in the 2011 YA Sharpwrit Book Awards
The Secret of the Sacred Scarab by Fiona Ingram
Reviewed by: Barbara Milbourn for Writers in the Sky
Author Fiona Ingram understands that young readers have no patience for long, drawn-out prologues. At the first sentence—a one-word exclamation—of The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, she jettisons readers off on an adventure to a far-away land with two young cousins. Justin and Adam are leaving the comforts of home and the family dog for a one-week adventure in Egypt with ace writer/researcher Aunt Isabel and their loveable and zany Gran. In exchange for missing school, their assignment is to keep a daily record of things they’ve seen and learned along the way. It so happens that their aunt’s current project and the boys’ recent history lessons coincide and set the reader on firm footing before they even lift off. Aunt Isabel has guaranteed their maximum travel experience and personal safety by booking them on a tour with a host of entertaining fellow sojourners and a tour-guide who is suspected of knowing far more than she shares with the group. Safety vanishes early in the hot, still air of a marketplace when the boys are encountered by a ragged peddler who bestows upon them four scarabs; one of which is particularly ancient and coveted. The story flies forward from there as the boys put together fortuitous pieces of a puzzle in quest of a legendary tomb of an ancient Egyptian ruler and a missing archeologist. Ingram writes the landscape and the legend vividly and keeps the boys barely one step ahead of death and dismemberment at the hands of men in black, the fangs of a giant cobra, and all manner of danger that lurks in caves, shifting sands, and things hidden in deep, dark places. The Secret of the Sacred Scarab is entertainment for readers up to around age fourteen and for those who wish they were fourteen again. It is at once adventure and history, art and architecture, humor and redemption, travel writing and social studies, and great fun. Fiona Ingram presents this as her first of seven in a series titled Chronicles of the Stone.
Foreword Magazine Review
The Secret of the Sacred Scarab by Fiona Ingram
Four Stars (out of Five) (review shortened)
Ingram has crafted a fascinating story of adventure. Ancient Egypt is a topic that captivates most young adults, and Ingram incorporates information about Egypt’s modern culture, as well as ancient legend. The story’s many twists and turns may be too complex for younger readers, but teens and tweens who can keep straight the many characters and navigate the long and detailed story will appreciate this well-researched adventure. The Secret of the Sacred Scarab is the first book in a series that will feature Adam and Justin. There is a glossary of unfamiliar terms on the book website.
The Secret of the Sacred Scarab
by Fiona Ingram
Middle grade fiction
The Secret of the Sacred Scarab by Fiona Ingram is a middle grade fiction book that reminded me why I fell in love with reading in the first place. When I was young, I read a lot of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. Those books feature teenagers (the Hardy boys and Nancy Drew, dur) invariably finding themselves engrossed in something mysterious. There’s pretty clear good guys and bad guys, with a surprise character not being bad or not being good, and usually some plot twists. They were so much fun! The Secret of the Sacred Scarab has so much fun in it! Justin and Adam, cousins, travel with their archaeologist aunt to Egypt to go site seeing. Trouble follows these boys around on their vacation, starting with when a street peddler surreptitiously slips a scarab into Adam’s pocket. Dr. Khalid, the evil guy who causes most of Adam and Justin’s trouble, knows Adam and Justin must have the scarab and he will stop at nothing to take it from them. The boys use various tricks and slipperiness to avoid Dr. Khalid, sometimes resulting in hilarious situations! The author has a great writing style, and she has a great sense of humor that shines through her writing. I think it’s a great testament to an author’s writing when the interest can be held of readers outside of the targeted audience. Ms. Ingram held my attention and made me reminisce about books that I read many years ago. If I had a child around age 9, up until age 13 or 14, I would thrust this book into their hands and encourage them to read it. It’s books like this that spark a love of reading. Rating: 90 out of 100
Trish Collins TLC Book Tours
STORIES FOR CHILDREN MAGAZINE
Book: The Secret of the Sacred Scarab
Author: Fiona Ingram
Illustrators: Lori Bentley
Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 10-14
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by: Wayne Walker
How would you feel if you were on a trip to Egypt and strange things started happening? Thirteen-year-old Adam and his fourteen-year-old cousin Justin live in Durban, South Africa, and are invited by their Aunt Isabel, who is an investigative journalist, and their grandmother to join them for a tour of Egypt. However, after a shabby-looking street peddler hastily gives (not sells) Adam three scarabs and runs off, odd events begin to occur. A famous Scottish archaeologist named James Kinnaird, who is searching for the tomb of the ancient Scarab King which many think is just a myth anyway, disappears and is presumed dead. The sinister looking Dr. Faisal Khalid, head of the Egyptian department of antiquities and a researcher at the Egyptian Museum who dismisses Kinnaird's claims, takes an unusual interest in the boys. There are reports about an antiquities smuggling ring, and Adam and Justin see some suspicious activities going on in the basement of the Egyptian museum.
And it gets worse. Shadowy figures in black robes seem to be following them from place to place. Their tour guide Laila acts out of the ordinary, sometimes friendly and other times secretive. An elderly Egyptian named Ebrahim Faza saves Adam from falling at the Sphinx and appears to know more about what is going on than he tells. Adam has a weird encounter with a fortune teller at the bazaar in Esna. Their room aboard their Nile River cruise ship is broken into. Then there are Adam's wild dreams. Finally, the two are kidnapped and taken across the desert while their tour bus is hijacked on a trip to the Valley of the Kings. What will happen? Will they survive?
All I can say is, "Wow!" This is one of the most thrilling children's books that I have read in a long time. Author Fiona Ingram, who was born and educated in South Africa, has combined an exciting story that is filled with adventure and suspenseful mystery to keep the reader turning the pages with a lot of interesting factual information about the history and geography of Egypt. I especially like the way that Adam and Justin are portrayed as bright and wanting to learn. It is a pleasure to read about, as one of the characters in the book, Brigadier Brice-Gibbons, calls them, "two well-mannered young men who actually know there was a Second World War." The Secret of the Sacred Scarab is the first volume of Fiona's new "Chronicles of Stone" series and has been named a finalist in the Children's/Juvenile Fiction category of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. In my estimation, it certainly deserves the honor!
Recent Amazon Reviews
- An Excellent Mystery, February 28, 2009
By William P. Robertson "Bucktail novelist" (Duke Center, PA USA)
- Fiona Ingram creates very believable boy characters caught up in a scintillating adventure. Her descriptions of the Egyptian landscape are breathtaking. She also imparts a wonderful knowledge of Egyptian culture in a way that young people will understand. Her map and diagrams will help her readers follow the story more easily.
- Superb, January 22, 2009
By R. E. Tregaskis (South Africa)
- Fiona has done a remarkable story and everyone who has children will delight in either reading this story to them or letting them read it again and again. It will become a classic soon.
Reading age: 10+ Read aloud age: 9+
Adventure and mystery in a fun educational setting.