The Search for the Stone of Excalibur

The Search for the Stone of Excalibur

Book Two – The Chronicles of the Stone

Children - General
378 Pages
Reviewed on 12/10/2014
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

The Search for the Stone of Excalibur is the second volume of The Chronicles of the Stone, a children’s and preteen historical adventure series written by Fiona Ingram and illustrated by Lori Bentley. Adam and Justin are South African cousins who played vital roles in discovering the first Stone of Power in Egypt while they were on a trip with their Aunt Isabel and their Gran. James Kinnaird, the archaeologist they helped rescue on that adventure, has sent word that the second Stone of Power has been located, and he’s invited them to his family’s castle in Scotland for their summer vacation to help with researching it. When they meet Aunt Isabel at the airport, Justin’s a bit taken aback by her companion, Kim, Isabel’s 12-year-old protegee, who’ll be spending the vacation with them. While she’s the same age as Adam, and only a year younger than Justin, he feels that he and Adam were a pretty good team in Egypt. Adam’s a bit more open to their new companion’s presence, and, before they know it, they've arrived at Heathrow Airport and are on their way to Oxford.

Fiona Ingram’s children's and preteen adventure novel, The Search for the Stone of Excalibur: The Chronicles of the Stone, Volume II, continues the excitement, danger, history and discoveries of the first book in the series, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab. Ingram’s done an impressive amount of historical research into the legend and history of King Arthur, and her carefully depicted setting in an ancient Scottish castle is inspired. While the author gives enough background to enable this book to be read as a standalone novel, I would suggest reading the books in order to get the full impact of the adventures and their effects on the cousins. I loved watching how Adam and Justin began their coming of age in the first volume, and seeing them continue to hone their detection skills and recognize their strengths and fears in The Search for the Stone of Excalibur is a joy. Ingram’s storytelling is masterful; she adroitly weaves historical fact and fantasy in a smooth and fluid style that makes reading this book both an exciting and intellectually satisfying treat. The Search for the Stone of Excalibur is filled with action and adventure, puzzles and ghostly presences, and stalwart companions ready to face any and all perils that come their way. What more could a reader ask for? The Search for the Stone of Excalibur: The Chronicles of the Stone, Volume II is a marvelous historical adventure tale, and it’s most highly recommended.

Lit Amri

Fiona Ingram’s The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, Book II of The Chronicles of the Stone adventure series, continues with Adam and Justin Sinclair’s next journey. The young cousins are now heading to Scotland, to search for clues to the second Stone of Power and find the Scroll of the Ancients. However, their plan has an unexpected change. Their friend, archaeologist James Kinnaird, has been hurt and stranded in France. Also, to the boys' huge frustration, a girl, Kim Maleka, will join them – whether they like it or not.

I couldn't help but chuckle at Adam and Justin’s annoyance with Kim’s unanticipated participation. These boys had fun in their first adventure in Egypt; rescued their friend James, helped the Egyptian police crack Dr. Khalid’s smuggling ring and received medals for it. A girl would spoil all the fun! Typical boys’ mentality. Nevertheless, Kim proves to be a valuable part of the team. If Justin is the action type, and Adam is the clever one, then Kim, to me, is the one that balances them both perfectly.

Fiona has an engaging writing style, and such new takes on a classic adventure theme make everything feel fresh again. Character development is the key to the story, and the dialogue is snappy. As an adult, the story is a delightful reminder of childhood fun and mischief. As for my nephew and niece with whom I had the pleasure reading this book together, entertaining is the word that describes this book. We also appreciated the extra notes at the end of the book - Readers’ Guide To King Arthur & The Dark Ages. It’s definitely an added bonus to end the story. If there are young reluctant readers in your family, this might just be the kick they need to get over that hump.

Heather Osborne

The Search for the Stone of Excalibur by Fiona Ingram is the second book in the young adult series, The Chronicles of the Stone. Continuing on their adventure to find the Stones of Power, cousins Justin and Adam find themselves in Scotland at the castle of their mentor, James Kinnaird. Fresh from their narrow escape in Egypt, James calls upon Adam and Justin to help him uncover the second stone by finding the Scroll of the Ancients, hidden hundreds of years ago by his ancestor, Bedwyr the Curious. Again, they are pursued by a mysterious cult, as well as the villainous Dr. Khalid, who wishes to use the power of the stones for evil. Joined by new friends, Ink and Kim, the cousins set out on a desperate search of Strathairn Castle for the second stone. Will they manage to find it in time and protect the secret powers or will they be too late?

Miss Ingram doesn't disappoint in this second installment. I was hooked from the first book and very excited to devour the second. I was eager to learn more about the Scroll of the Ancients and found this book to reveal more about the true nature of the stones. I loved that the book took place in a familiar country. Again, Ingram describes her characters and locales in such a vivid way that the reader cannot help but picture themselves right there alongside the cousins. I loved the historical information at the end as well as the preview of the next book! I cannot wait! The Search for the Stone of Excalibur is certain to be the next great young adult book of our time!

Lee Ashford

The Search for the Stone of Excalibur: Book Two – The Chronicles of the Stone by Fiona Ingram is a top flight sequel to The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, which is itself an outstanding introductory volume to this series. In The Search for the Stone of Excalibur, we again join Adam and Justin on a quest, this time in search of the second Stone of Power. At the last minute a third child joins them, and – in spite of Justin’s initial reluctance to accept the presence of an outsider – she turns out to be a big help as the cousins once again face life-threatening danger, seemingly at every turn. In the face of terrific odds, our young heroes forge ahead in their quest, unravelling mysteries that – in some cases – have lain unsolved for centuries. Will this quest end successfully? Or will the dangers be too much for the young archaeologists this time?

The Search for the Stone of Excalibur is a complex, but very engaging tale of derring-do any middle-grade student would love to delve into. The story is a compelling one, which young and old alike will find difficult to put down before the final page. No thread is left unresolved in this story, except those intentionally inserted as lead-ins to the upcoming third volume (I am very much looking forward to the publication of that next sequel). The Chronicles of the Stone is not only a very entertaining series, but provides readers with remarkably unconventional lessons in world history. I suspect that young readers who become hooked on this series will do very well in their subsequent history classes. Ingram brings history alive in her writing, making it an exciting recreational pursuit, rather than a burdensome study in academia. With Christmas coming quickly, Books One and Two of The Chronicles of the Stone would make exceptional gifts for any middle-graders on your shopping list.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Most people are familiar with the legends of King Arthur and his famous sword, Excalibur. Hollywood has made good use of the exciting exploits that surround this legendary figure in British history. Here's another twist, one that involves a group of young people and a quest not unlike the quests for the Holy Grail that scattered the Knights of Arthur's Round Table far and wide.

Justin and Adam seem like very ordinary boys. And yet, they have already seen and witnessed danger and adventure on a previous holiday (of sorts) in Egypt where they found an ancient relic of mythical powers. The Search for the Stone of Excalibur is the second book in The Chronicles of the Stone series, but it reads well on its own, luring the young reader into the fast paced action and adventure as the two rather ordinary boys seek the second of these mythical stones, a stone that is believed to be associated with King Arthur and his legendary sword. The story takes the boys from their home in South Africa to Oxford, and then onto Scotland where most of the excitement takes place. They are joined by a young African girl, Kim, and a teen they meet in Oxford, nicknamed Ink (because his last name is Blott). Where there is treasure or ancient relics of mythical powers, there are bound to be others eager to get their greedy hands on the item. As the boys pursue their search, they are challenged and their lives are threatened at every turn.

Fiona Ingram has written an amazing story of history and adventure for young readers. Interweaving facts with fiction, the author provides the young reader with considerable historical detail. This reads very well as historical fiction as well as adventure. It may have been written for the pre-teen audience, but it's an adventure that would appeal to all ages. Very well done!