The Saltire Secret

Children - Preteen
187 Pages
Reviewed on 02/11/2015
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jane Finch for Readers' Favorite

The Saltire Secret by E.L. Grady tells the story of twins Alex and Olivia who are in search of excitement during their summer holidays. An opportunity presents itself with a letter from Grandpa Boyd and, before they know it, the twins are embroiled in a mystery relating to a long-forgotten secret society. Their adventure involves a treasure map, and the twins have to solve a series of clues and riddles to get one step closer to finding a secret treasure of the Brotherhood of Dixie. There’s a problem, though, because others are on the hunt for the treasure, some who will do anything to find it before everyone else and claim it for their own. To add to the mystery and the urgency of their quest, the twins discover their Grandpa is missing, so they have to find him as well as the treasure, and in the process become quite famous.

This is a great adventure for me, reminiscent of the old Famous Five stories, with the added interactive aspect where readers have the opportunity to work out the clues for themselves at the end of each chapter. The author, E. L. Grady, has done a really good job in weaving an exciting tale that draws the reader into helping to solve the mystery. It’s well written, with a good pace, and Alex and Olivia are endearing protagonists even though they are such different characters. This would sit well as a series because once the reader bonds with Alex and Olivia, they will want to follow them on their further adventures. A good adventure, some great characters, and a mysterious plot makes this a superb read.

Jack Magnus

The Saltire Secret is a preteen adventure story written by E.L. Grady. Olivia and Alex Fontaine are home alone, and it's really nothing new. Their parents are high-powered attorneys who raised their children to be pretty self-sufficient. There's only one more day of school, and then the 12-year-old twins are off for the summer. Olivia is making their dinner and Alex is playing a sports game when the doorbell rings. Olivia goes to answer, thinking it would be Alex's friends, but then she sees the shadowy figure of a tall man. When she peers through the glass on the side of the door, she's alarmed by the man's gaunt face, eye-patch and nasty scar. She tells him that her parents are expected home any minute now, but he knows better. His name is Ben Pollard, and he knows their grandfather, Charlie Boyd. Charlie's in trouble, and he left a package with Pollard for the twins.

E.L. Grady's preteen adventure story, The Saltire Secret, blends history, action and mystery as the twins follow a set of clues to rescue their grandfather. Grady invites the reader to pause each time a puzzle or clue is presented and see if he/she can arrive at the right answer. There are all sorts of good puzzles, including several encrypted messages, a number puzzle and an anagram. The adventure takes the twins to New York City, Washington, DC, Gettysburg and a number of historical sites relating to the Civil War period in American history. I enjoyed travelling along with the twins, especially during their stay in New York and visit to Central Park. The Saltire Secret is fun to read; the puzzles are entertaining and readily solvable; and the underlying treasure hunt is a grand adventure. The Saltire Secret is recommended reading for adventure seekers and history buffs alike.

Deepak Menon

The Saltire Secret by E.L. Grady is a charming and extremely focused story about solving an indecipherable mystery. The book begins with a teenaged brother and sister left alone in their house when a stranger with a scar on his face, as well as an eye patch, rings the bell. A mysterious package addressed to them both is delivered and the villainous looking courier vanishes. They open the package and find a clue where to find a special letter stored for them, which has been hidden in the house by their grandfather. It takes all their ingenuity and a precise interpretation of the message to find the letter. And their world turns upside down when they read it. The letter contains a clue to another hidden message. Knowing that their parents are away overseas, and realizing that there is no time to spare if their missing grandfather is to be found, they pack knapsacks and embark on a thrilling adventure.

E.L. Grady has drawn deep into American history to reveal clue after clue for them to follow in their search for their grandfather. The reader is compelled to refer to an encyclopedia just to understand the significance of the clues based on little known historical events, which reveal that there are many amazing historical facts that no one really knows about, even if one has studied history as a subject. The action is continuous, and gripping. E.L. Grady has a fluid, understandable style of writing, enabling the reader to flow with the stream of the story. The formatting and paraphrasing is good and the climax is explosive. I recommend this book for both young and old alike to read and savor, and rate it with a deserving 5 stars.