Verdict: MARTIN MCMILLAN AND THE SACRED STONES is an entertaining adventure into the ways ancient history and culture affect modern lives and a fun friendship story perfect for 9 to 13-year-olds curious about the world.
Skateboarding duo Martin McMillan and his best friend Isabel, children of archeologists and historians who travel the world.
MARTIN MCMILLAN AND THE SACRED STONES, introduces Isabel’s dad and new girlfriend Moira who have brought them along on a trip to Scotland. Moira has discovered some Gaelic papers written by her ancestors, who were forced to move from their farming community during the Highland Clearances and eventually settled in Nova Scotia. Moira hopes the papers will explain her family’s history, and has come to Scotland to have them translated by a Professor Duncan—but the last few pages are written in an older language the professor claims he can’t translate.
Martin and Isabel aren’t fooled. From the minute they arrive in Scotland there are suspicious things going on—a young man and woman in hooded cloaks appear to be following them, for one—so Martin and Isabel try to solve the mystery of the unknown pages themselves. Soon they are receiving threats of spells and mysterious accidents, but the pair continues to race from historical sights to museums attempting to piece together why so many people don’t want these pages translated.
It’s a lively adventure for middle-grade readers that will immerse them in culture and history without ever sounding like a school lesson. Martin and Isabel make learning look cool, and the author has a way of writing even a trip to the library as a mini-adventure. The plot is well-paced and the setting details help the adventure come alive. Although this is the third installment in the Martin McMillan series, readers won’t need to have read the first two to enjoy this third. There are points where the realism is fudged a bit for convenience, but the adventure is so engrossing that these points become quibbles.
MARTIN MCMILLAN AND THE SACRED STONES is an entertaining adventure into the ways ancient history and culture affect modern lives and a fun friendship story perfect for 9 to 13-year-olds curious about the world.