The Shadow Prince

By School Library Connection

Ash is an average looking Egyptian boy on the verge of his 12th birthday. Orphaned at an early age, he is being raised by his mentor, Yazen, who tells Ash he is training him for a future as a demon hunter and that he will use his skills for important tasks. In the meantime his life in the small desert town consists of cleaning debris from the canal and being bullied daily by wealthy Merk and his band of tormentors. Yazen tells Ash he must never show his incredible fighting skills to anyone in the village until he is "called." Ash is part of an ancient tradition. As he was born on the same day as the prince, he was thus marked as a shadow candidate. On his 12th birthday, Ash will go to the Pharoah's palace in the capital city of Memphis and will be tested by demons from Duat, the realm of the dead. Only one candidate will survive the five days of grueling physical fighting and mind-bending tests of intellect. Set in an alternate, solar-powered Egyptian world inhabited by human sized talking beetles, giant dragonflies you can ride, and barges powered by solar sails that can magically transport you to far off places, this title creates a unique science fiction atmosphere. Through five tests of endurance and skill, Ash encounters Set, the Lord of Chaos, and makes the first friends of life, all while struggling to stay alive in order to become the bodyguard of Prince Khufu, the future Pharoah of Egypt. Middle grade students will identify with this coming-of-age story of peril and survival. Includes a helpful glossary of the gods and Egyptian symbols encountered throughout. Recommended.