by Ben Gartner
GENRE: Middle grade, time travel, adventure, historical fiction
Siblings John and Sarah barely made it home last time, but in their next time traveling adventure the challenge really heats up. Surrounded by clashing cultures on the ancient Roman frontier, they must fulfill their quest to unite the emperor with his enemy, an Alemanni barbarian, or risk being stuck in time forever.
An action-packed fantasy full of sword fights, chariot chases, fearsome wild animals, and high mountain survival. For graduates of the Magic Tree House looking for a thrilling middle grade page-turner, read Sol Invictus, book two of The Eye of Ra series!
Sarah instantly recognized those distinct green eyes sunk into that deeply tanned and wrinkled face, the long beard dappled with gray.
The man who had been covered in a rockslide and then taken away by police. The tomb robber. The ancient Egyptian time traveler. Memories of their last adventure barraged Sarah’s brain like an overwhelming lightning storm. Then her survival reflex blared in alarm.
She swung the scepter toward Aten, and the man recoiled.
“Stay back!” Sarah shouted.
“You must go,” Aten said.
“No, you must go,” Sarah replied, shaking the scepter and moving John behind her. Aten blocked their exit.
“I am but a humble messenger sent by the gods.” He put both hands in the air and flicked his eyes toward the ceiling. “Sent by Ra and Khonsu, the gods of the sun and the moon, of light and travel.” He looked down to Sarah and John. “The gods have chosen you. And so you must go.”
“What does that mean?” John asked. “How did you get out of jail?”
“That doesn’t matter,” Sarah said. “Let us leave or I’ll scream.”
Aten grinned. “The gods visited me in my prison cell, where I swore allegiance to them. Yes, I was a thief and a liar, but I have seen the light of Ra and repented. It was they that gave us the power to travel through time. In return for my fealty, they rescued me from that foul place. I will not hurt you, but nor will I fail the gods. You will meet them too someday, when the time is right, and you will see. But for now, you will trust me because I have traveled through the eye of Ra just as you have.”
The hairs on Sarah’s arm tingled.
A Word With the Author
1.Did you always want to be an author?
Probably. I give this semi-vague answer because at an earlier age I would have just said “writer,” and I was a writer. I wrote a lot. I love the creative immersion. It is a power like no other.
2.Tell us about the publication of your first book.
My first published book (though not technically the first book I wrote) is The Eye of Ra, which was released last February 2020. It followed siblings John and Sarah as they accidentally travel in time to ancient Egypt and have to figure out how to return while navigating a mystery and the challenges of the time.
The second book in the series, Sol Invictus, releases soon! February 2, 2021. Available everywhere books are sold. It continues the story of John and Sarah, this time with a focus on the ancient Roman frontier town of Aventicum near the Alps. The stakes are high in this one and they’ll only increase in book three!
3.Besides yourself, who is your favorite author in the genre you write in?
Oh man, I’m not a huge fan of “favorite” questions because it can change, it depends on a mood, and it seems so unfair to all the really great authors out there! But lately I’ve been answering this question with Lauren Wolk. Her books are technically middle grade, but they certainly appeal to anyone. Quality craftsmanship wrapped up in a great story. My whole family read all three of her books this year.
4.What's the best part of being an author? The worst?
The best part about being an author is the writing itself. That may sound like an obvious answer, but there is so much more to being an “author” than just writing! This interview, for example. As much as I appreciate you having me here, I’d rather be writing. Hehe
The worst part about being an author is that there are only 24 hours in a day. I wish I had orders of magnitude more time to write, to hone my craft, to read. It is a delight.
5.What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on book three of The Eye of Ra series. This is my most ambitious project yet, in that much more will be revealed about the overarching series plot, who John and Sarah really are, who some of the mysterious figures are, and why all of this matters. And oh boy, does it matter!
Thank you so much for having me! I love hearing from readers, parents, teachers, librarians, and the general writing community. Don’t be shy about reaching out. My website is BenGartner.com. On Twitter and Instagram, I’m @BGartnerWriting.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Ben Gartner is the award-winning author of The Eye of Ra adventure series for middle graders (ages 8-12). His books take readers for a thrilling ride, maybe even teaching them something in the meantime. Ben can be found living and writing near the mountains with his wife and two boys.
Ben Gartnerwill be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway