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The Black Sphinx
Matt Hart
Ages 9 to 12
Random House UK, 2006, 0-552-55421-9
  When both of his parents are suddenly killed Crispin Rattle finds himself without a home and without any idea of what is going to happen to him. Not knowing what else to do he decides to contact Callisto, a man whom Mrs. Rattle once knew. Actually Mrs. Rattle herself tells Crispin to seek this man out, or rather Mrs. Rattle’s ghost does. So, Crispin leaves London and goes to the big city of Wolveston. Luckily Callisto – who is a famous and very skilled conjurer and magician - is a kind soul and he takes Crispin in. He also sets about trying to help Crispin decode a letter that was sent to his dead mother.
  What Crispin, Callisto and Callisto’s assistant Aril discover is that the words in the letter lead them to a luggage locker and in the locker there is a statue of a black sphinx. Callisto and Aril are sure that the sphinx is a very powerful object, an object with an ancient and a dark past.
  Meanwhile Jasper Pepper, thief, murderer and demonist, is looking for the black sphinx. With the help of a demon associate Jasper finds out that Crispin has the statue and he quickly sets about tracking the boy down and planning a way to get the sphinx from him.
  None of these people, not even “madder than a mackerel” Jasper, truly appreciate how powerful the sphinx is. In the end they all must face a series of tests. Which one of them is worthy and will they all end up in the clutches of Anubis, the Keeper of the Gates of Death?
  In this often chilling and wonderfully exciting story the author takes his readers to a somewhat altered England, an England which no longer has a monarchy and which is filled with peculiar people who have dark pasts. Told in the present tense, the reader follows the fortunes of the characters in alternating chapters until, at last, Crispin and his friends, and Jasper and his associates, are brought together for a stunning and most surprising conclusion.
  Many readers will also greatly enjoy deciphering the hieroglyphs which are found running down the sides of the pages.

The Black Sphinx


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