Twist a Rope of Sand

More Adventures of Anya and Corax

Children - Adventure
339 Pages
Reviewed on 04/02/2022
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Author Biography

I wanted to write a tough, scathing character study. This book is not that.

In the midst of doing research for that project, I suddenly had enough of tough and scathing, and put it all aside just to give myself a break. The result was the first of the 'Anya and Corax' mini-series, Vagabond Wind.
Well, it turned out that readers also needed a break. People wanted to read something that charmed them, and who better to do that than Corax, the dog hero? And when I finished that book, the characters insisted on getting together again, so what choice did I have? They badgered me into writing Twist a Rope of Sand, and I hope it gives just as much pleasure. I loved writing it.
The author Madeleine L'Engle advised that, if you want to write a difficult book, don't write it for adults. Write it for children. Well, you need to listen when a prestigious author speaks, don't you? So I did write about children, but more importantly, for the child in all of us.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ronél Steyn for Readers' Favorite

In Twist a Rope of Sand by K.M. del Mara, we join Anya and Corax for another adventure. This time we are headed for the Frijoles Canyon in New Mexico with her father, the archaeologist. We are in the year 1933 and it is just before Thanksgiving. Nine-year-old Anya is looking forward to spending some much-needed quality time with her father during the holiday, until he decides to invite her cousin, Robert, along as well. Suddenly Anya is dreading the holiday. While trying to document and preserve the invaluable history of the Anasazi people who lived in the canyon centuries ago, Anya, her father, and everyone at the Ranch of the Ten Elders must contend with graverobbers looking to make quick money. Can Anya and Robert ever heal and move forward? Can they stop the thieves and safeguard the legends of The Old Ones?

This book is saturated in history so rich, it's hard to put down. My curious spirit was once again ignited to gather more information regarding the people this story was based upon. I loved that it could be read apart from Vagabond Wind; however, I find myself eager to read the first book as well. By personifying the grandfather clock, Corax, Felicity, Coyote, and Raven, I feel that the author reached a deeper level of intensity and tied the legends of the Anasazi people with the area of the Frijoles Canyon as well as each of the characters. Character growth itself was quite evident and correlated well with the entire theme. This book is not only suitable for children aged 12 and up but also adult readers who enjoy historical fiction.

Michaela Gordoni

Uniquely written, Twist a Rope of Sand by K.M. del Mara is about a mix of travelers and their adventure in New Mexico in the 1930s. Nine-year-old Anya, her father Jack, her friend Hattie, her cousin Robert, and not to be forgotten—her dog, Corax, set off by train for the New Mexico canyons in hopes of learning more about the ancient Native American people that lived there. But their experience is interrupted when they run into some shady characters; an “archaeologist” and his assistant who turn out to be night hawkers (AKA grave robbers). Together with some pueblo locals, they attempt to stop them. Their holiday in New Mexico turns out to be a trip that they all will never forget and each person takes home something different that they learned from their experience.

K.M. del Mara has woven a unique story that focuses on different characters throughout the book (including a mule or a dog occasionally). She adds insight to life on a New Mexican pueblo and gives her protagonists three-dimensional character development. This easily could have been written in a modern-day setting, but I liked that K.M. del Mara chose to set it in the 1930s. I think that stepping back in time made it more interesting and added value to the novel. Full of adventure and respect for the Native American people of New Mexico, Twist a Rope of Sand is a historical fiction adventure novel that is sure to entertain families and individuals young and old.

Kristine Zimmerman

Twist a Rope of Sand: More Adventures of Anya and Corax by K. M. del Mara is a good old-fashioned adventure story. Nine-year-old Anya has recently reunited with her archaeologist father, Jack, who has decided to return to New Mexico for the Thanksgiving holiday. He is bringing Anya, her dog Corax, her friend Hattie, and her cousin Robert with him. Anya is excited that Hattie is coming along but doesn't feel the same way about her cousin. They are not the only ones interested in the ancient cultures found in New Mexico. A pair of thieves are also on their way to the same area to loot the ancient sites. What will happen when their paths cross?

Twist a Rope of Sand is set in the 1930s which brings an interesting historical twist to the children's adventures. Kids will be intrigued by the fact that traveling across the country was done primarily by train. K. M. del Mara has done a wonderful job of weaving in tales from Native American culture. Mara does not shy away from the challenges that occur as cultures collide. Mara has allowed Corax and that trickster Coyote to share their thoughts throughout the story, which adds a deeper dimension to it. Robert and Hattie are both dealing with major changes in their lives. They each have an experience in the desert that will profoundly affect them. This book will be appreciated by those wanting a bit of history with their adventures.