Today we are excited to introduce you to Jagger Jones and the Mummy’s Ankh by Malayna Evans.
Jagger Jones and the Mummy’s Ankh
Jagger Jones is a whiz kid from Chicago’s South Side. Ask him anything about Ancient Egypt, and Jagger can fill hours describing all that he knows. But when he and his precocious little sister Aria fall more than three thousand years back in time to the court of Amarna, Egypt, Jagger discovers a truth that rocks his world: books don’t teach you everything there is to know.
Mummies, pyramids, and cool hieroglyphics make awesome movie props, but the ancient court of Amarna is full of over-sized scorpions, magical amulets, and evil deities determined to scare unwanted visitors away. If Jagger and Aria are to return safely home, they must find nine soul-infested gemstones, defeat an evil general, save the royal family, and figure out how to rescue themselves!
Armed only with Jagger’s knowledge of history and a few modern objects mined from his pockets and Aria’s sparkly purse, the siblings have exactly one week to solve supernatural riddles and rescue the royal family. If they can pull it off, Jagger Jones just might return to Chicago a hero.
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Jagger Jones and the Mummy’s Ankh Excerpt:
FROM CHAPTER TWO – I Want My Mummy!
“Aria, do you see this?” He spun his sister around.
“Creepy.” She budged closer to him. Then she leaned forward, drawn to the gloom. “Let’s go in!”
Jagger held onto her, hesitating. He needed to keep going, but Aria should be back in the rental house with Mom.
“Come on.” She yanked her arm, but he held her fast, weighing his options.
The urge to see what was in that room, to meet the girl who’d been calling out to him, was too strong to resist. He pushed Aria behind him, took a breath, and slipped past the rock, shining his flashlight around and gasping in awe.
The room glittered with gold. By some miracle, the tomb had escaped the notice of both ancient tomb robbers and modern scholars. He’d be a hero to geeks across the globe.
His breath quickened as he inched forward, trying not to step on any priceless objects. There was a chair with lion’s paw feet, a gold chest, a broken chariot with gem-studded wheels, loads of gold and alabaster jugs, and more ancient knickknacks than his brain could process. Centuries of dust couldn’t hide the beauty or fortune stuffed into this small room.
“Are we rich? We’re rich, aren’t we?” Aria exclaimed.
He ignored her, captivated by the open, stone box that stood at the far end of the room, flanked by two larger-than-life dog-headed statues. They were made of black stone and embossed with more gold. They gave him the heebie-jeebies. With a shiver, he shifted his attention back to the box. He knew it should contain a gold coffin built to house the tomb’s mummy. He also knew the dog-headed guards couldn’t possibly be watching him, but they felt alive, nonetheless.
“It moved!” Aria pointed. “Did you see that dog thing’s eyes? They moved.”
“It’s a statue.” He shifted closer to his sister. “It can’t move.”
“Maybe we should get Mom.” Aria eyeballed the guards as if she expected them to wake up, and start searching for their next meal.
The ghostly voice was coming from inside the stone box.
“One minute, lil’ sis,” he croaked. “I have to see the mummy.”
“Just do what you have to do, and let’s go. Mom is gonna kill us when she finds out we discovered a tomb while she was asleep. Maybe we should take this secret to our graves.” Aria jabberedwhen she was anxious. “Think we can keep it secret and still get rich off it?” Her eyes darted from a gold chest to a gold chair. “Because this looks like a serious Michigan Avenue shopping spree …”
Jagger tuned her out, holding his breath as he moved past the statues. He peered into the box, stomach churning. The lid lay on the ground by his feet. Surprisingly, the lid of the golden coffin nestled inside the box was gone too, leaving the mummy exposed. The bandages were intact and still clean; they covered every speck of the small body, too big to be a child but not quite an adult either.
“No way,” he mumbled, staring at the large, gold amulet sitting on the mummy’s belly. Jagger knew immediately that the amulet was the source of the mysterious voice. What he didn’t know was how.
He gaped at the ankh, the Egyptian symbol of life, shaped like a cross with a loop at the top. The ankh was covered in gemstones that glimmered in the dim light. Something about the gemstones was off. They were transparent, more like holographic projections than real gemstones. And they seemed animated. Colorful lights rattled inside them, as if fireflies were trapped inside. But as unusual as they were, they couldn’t explain the voice. Could they?
Wracking his brain for a scientific explanation, Jagger leaned in to get a better view of the fat, green chunk of malachite in the center of the ankh, bigger and sparklier than the other gemstones, just as Aria’s hand reached for it.
He froze, terrified. He couldn’t have said why, but he knew they shouldn’t touch that thing.
His yell was drowned out by a strong wind that whirled, suddenly, around them. He grabbed his sister as a vortex formed. Colorful lights danced in the wind, as if they’d escaped from the gemstones.
“What’s happening?” Aria clutched the amulet, eyes wide.
“Let go of it!”
He didn’t know if Aria didn’t hear him, or if she was ignoring him. Either way, it was too late.
Jagger reached for Aria’s hand as their bodies spun, weightless, in empty space. Colorful lights swirled around them. The silence was deafening, even more profound after the voice had reverberated through his head for the past hour. Though Aria’s mouth was open wide like she was screaming, he couldn’t hear a thing.
With a sudden bump, Jagger felt the familiar comfort of solid ground beneath him as his stomach continued to tumble. Maybe he was sick, and this was all a dream. But how could that explain the plush carpet beneath him, or the bright light that streamed around him, or the unfamiliar smell wafting on the breeze that brushed his cheek?
Daring a panicked look around, Jagger gasped. “What the …”
“Breathe,” Aria whispered. That’s what Mom said when unexpected things happened.
But this wasn’t unexpected. This was impossible!
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About the Author: Malayna Evans is the author of the middle grade time travel series, Jagger Jones. Malayna earned her Ph.D. in Egyptology from the University of Chicago and has used her background to craft a tale loaded with historical details, attested ancient actors, and a magical adventure full of gods, mummies and wriggling creatures. Malayna enjoys a busy life of reading, writing, and playing in Oak Park, Illinois with her two kids, a spoiled rescue dog named Caesar, and a dwarf hamster named Pedicure.
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