Sons of the Sphinx

Posted March 4th, 2015, by Marie C. Collins

A revivew of Sons of the Sphinx* by Cheryl Carpinello (2014)

Sons_of_the_Sphinx SilverCheryl Carpinello likes to write for what she calls “reluctant readers.” Now that I have read Sons of the Sphinx, she can add “reluctant historians” to her calling card. While I have always loved to read, history (with the exception of biography) has consistently put me to sleep. I did not nap while reading Sons of the Sphinx.

The book’s endearing main character, Rosa, helped bring me into the story. She is a reluctant heroine who struggles against her own gifts as well as against being chosen to help the historical characters, King Tut and Ankhesesnamun, reunite. Rosa’s reactions to the things happening around her often made me smile. She is an unworldly 15-year-old who shows a precocious understanding of history early in the story. It is through her appreciative eyes that I was able to see Carpinello’s well-rendered Egyptian landscape and the historically informed details of a glorious city that no longer exists.

Early in the story, when we see some of the prized possessions related to ancient Egypt that Rosa keeps in her bedroom, I could not help imagining a young Carpinello storing similar items on her own shelves at one time. On one hand, the fact that Rosa “sees dead people” provided the author an opportunity to tell an engaging story through the eyes of someone who sees things no one else can. On the other, what is history but the ability to see dead people? When seen this way, I think it’s safe to say that this at least is a characteristic Carpinello shares with Rosa.

When I was young enough to be considered the target-age of this book, I was superficially intrigued by the Egyptian pyramids, the tombs within them, and mummification. In the late 1970s, I saw the exhibition of artifacts from KingTut’s tomb at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. But the details of this period never spoke to me in stories like they do to Rosa or Carpinello. In fact, they didn’t speak to me this way until Sons of the Sphinx.

Reading this book motivated me to explore other resources to see where fact and fiction part ways in Sons of the Sphinx. After gleaning that Carpinello made the absolute most of the little that is known of what actually happened, I found myself yawning over these and rereading parts of her book instead. This reluctant historian will stick with Carpinello’s view of events. I highly recommend the book.

Click here for the Sons of the Sphinx Amazon listing.

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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