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Secrets of a Sun King

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Secrets of a Sun King Reviews | Toppsta

Book Rating: 5 based on 20
20 Reviews
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London, 1922.

A discovery from ancient Egypt . . .
A cursed package . . .
The untold story of a young pharaoh . . .

When Lilian Kaye finds a parcel on her grandad's doorstep, she is shocked to see who sent it: a famous Egyptologist, found dead that very morning, according to every newspaper in England!

The mysterious package holds the key to a story . . . about a king whose tomb archaeologists are desperately hunting for.

Lil and her friends must embark on an incredible journey - to return the package to its resting place, to protect those they love, and to break the deadly pharaoh's curse . . .

Secrets of a Sun King Reviews | Toppsta

9780571328499
  • ISBN: 9780571328499
  • Pub Date: 2nd August 2018
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber
  • Imprint: Faber & Faber
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number of Pages: 304

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First Line

"One filthy wet Wednesday morning, the world stopped making sense."

Media & Blog Reviews

  • "There are echoes of Michael Morpurgo and Nina Bawden, but in a style of her own Carroll sews together accessible history with a cracking plot." (The Times)
  • "Engaging and entertaining." (Independent on Sunday)
  • "Absorbing, sensitive and genuinely magical in feel." (Independent)

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13th October '18
I read it myself (an adult)
Secrets of a Sun King 9780571328499
5 stars
Lil lives in England where people are still coping with the aftermath of World War 1. Her grandfather is taken ill and believes it's the result of an ancient Egyptian curse. Lil heads out on an adventure to Egypt with new friends to return a bottle that belongs in the tomb of a famous pharaoh. On the way, she learns a few secrets - about her family, about Howard Carter (the archaeologist) and about her friends' lost brother. The party also learn the story of the last days of the pharaoh who may not really have suited life in power at such a young age. 

The story was beautifully written and made me sob in places (with happiness not sadness) and I could really picture the scenes where we were learning the story of the pharaoh. It was almost like watching a film in my head! I loved how fact and fiction were woven together and wanted to learn more as I read about the famous Tutankhamen.  

There was only one part that didn't quite sit comfortably with me. It happened while the children were travelling on a train to Egypt and I didn't feel it really added much to the story. It had references to the spirit world and was the only creepy part of an otherwise enjoyable and intriguing tale. It didn't spoil my enjoyment however and was soon put behind me in the excitement of the adventure.

I have already loaned my copy to Year 3 as part of their Ancient Egypt topic and I think they're planning to use it as a class read. There were parts that made me laugh, and cry in equal measure - just what I think a good story should do!
13th August '18
G read it themselves aged 10 aged 10
Secrets of a Sun King 9780571328499
5 stars
This was my third Emma Carroll and I enjoyed it more than my absolute fave (Letters from a Lighthouse)!!!  Emma makes history an amazing place to visit.  If you have never tried historical, this is a brilliant place to start! I like these books because they take me to another age and they are mysteries (I really enjoy mysteries).  They also move me.

A quick synopsis...Lilian finds a parcel on her grandfather’s doorstep.  She is surprised that it was sent from an Egyptologist who was found dead that morning!  The puzzling package holds part of a quite interesting, quite important story about a famous king who archeologists are trying to find.  When Lil meets Oz & Tulip, they plot to go to Egypt to return the package to its right place.  All in order to save Lil’s Grandad and to break the curse of a Pharoah.

This book is a mystery with true events in (like Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon).  The utterly gorgeous cover illustration is by Julian de Narvaez, there are no illustrations inside.  The main characters (Lil, Tulip & Oz) are very adventurous, brave children.  Tulip and Oz are part of a rich family and even though Tulip goes to a posh girls school, her mum allows her not to go.  Lil on the other hand, is from a poorer family and Lil’s Dad pushes for her to go and achieve high.  

This book made me feel amazed about Egyptian history and made me feel like a detective.  I would recommend it for children 9years +.
14th August '18
Madmoo read it themselves aged 8 aged 8
Secrets of a Sun King 9780571328499
5 stars
I really enjoyed this book. I have been learning about Egypt at school this year so that made the book even more interesting for me. I really like the character of Lil and thought the book was really exciting and adventurous. I thought this was a really great book and I would definitely like to read more books from this author.
20th August '18
ChildGenius read it themselves aged 9 aged 9
Secrets of a Sun King 9780571328499
5 stars
I found this book, with the story set in 1922 interesting. What kept me intrigued were references to real life places like the British Museum,  the Royal Brompton Hospital and the St Pancras station. The plot is very well written and despite being a historical fiction, it has nice warm human aspects throughout the story along with mystery and humour. The protagonist was my favourite character. I would recommend this book. 
15th August '18
I read it to Year 6 readers aged 10 to 11
Secrets of a Sun King 9780571328499
5 stars
Emma Carroll takes the reader back to the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in the 1920s in this wonderful book. We loved Lil's adventurous spirit and the insight into both the world of the Egyptians but also that of the archaeologists as well. It's wonderfully written and, just as you'd imagine from Emma Carroll, a delight to read from start to finish.
21st August '18
I read it myself aged 11 aged 11
Secrets of a Sun King 9780571328499
5 stars
This is my second Emma Caroll book and I LOVED it. The gripping mystery, enticing cliffhangers and all - it was great! As mentioned in other reviews, it is a history but the way it is written hides that completely. I love the fact that as you read it, you learn multiple things without even realising that you are! It feels like you are there being transported through Lil's magical story, alongside Tulip and Oz, living the joy and weeping at the sorrows.
28th August '18
Alex read it themselves aged 10 aged 10
Secrets of a Sun King 9780571328499
5 stars
I recommended this book to my friend as we had both enjoyed learning about the Egyptians in Year 3. I had heard a few bits about Howard Carter and Tutankhamun before but this book explains the real story - i didn’t want to put this book down! 
24th July '18
Callum2010 read it themselves aged 7 aged 7
Secrets of a Sun King 9780571328499
5 stars
The beautiful cover sets the scene for this Egyptian tale. Set in 1922 in London, where a mysterious parcel appears upon the doorstep of Lilian's grandfather. The parcel was sent by an Egyptologist, who is then rumoured to be dead! The importance of the parcel is soon revealed, it holds the secret which is sought after by many archaeologists. It is Lilian's job to protect this secret and embark on a dangerous adventure in order to break a curse of a pharaoh. 

My son has been engrossed by this book, he read it cover to cover in one evening and loved the Egyptian theme. He'd studied ancient Egypt at school this year and so was most enthused to read around this topic. 
28th October '18
CandyFlossBoss read it themselves aged 10 aged 10
Secrets of a Sun King 9780571328499
5 stars
I have really enjoyed this book, it is a thrilling mystery taking you down the River Nile to the ancient city of Cairo.

With Pharoes and curses, new friends and families, this book is perfect for children aged 10-11 years old. I had already read 'Letters from the Lighthouse' and thought this would be a hard book to beat-but I was wrong! I have reviewed this book at my school and I have also written a letter to Emma to say a big thank you. I think that any girl or boy would enjoy this book just as much as each other. I would love to see different people enjoying it!
4th September '18
Bookworm3 read it themselves aged 12 aged 12
Secrets of a Sun King 9780571328499
5 stars
I have met Emma Carroll and loved all of her other books but this one has to be my favourite. The balance between historical facts and creating an atmospheric feel has been perfectly judged and makes your imagination go wild. The author’s style is easy to read but is grippingly interesting at the same time. I really like Ancient Egypt and if you do too or want to try a sample of historical fiction, then this novel is for you. The bond between Tulip,Oz and Lil has something special about it,making the twist at the end significantly poignant. The plot has a spooky edge to it so I would recommend that younger readers may want to share this novel with an adult. This story expertly captures the sense of its 1920’s setting which adds to the characters and their views of the world around them. Lots of discussion points come off of the storyline which are relevant to today. This book in three words is:creepy, historical and adventure. I hope you will get as much out of this brilliant book as I have done.
18th September '18
I read it to Serendipity16 aged 12 aged 12 & to Salioo31 aged 8 aged 8
Secrets of a Sun King 9780571328499
5 stars
From the opening page this fantastic book grabbed our attention. Lil, a likeable, adventurous character, is quickly drawn in to a quest to undo the famous curse which is now threatening her family. Mixing adventure with historical facts and information, we couldn’t wait to read on and find out what happened. A brilliant accompaniment to an Ancient Egypt topic. Give it a read, you won’t be disappointed. 
17th August '18
I read it myself (an adult)
Secrets of a Sun King 9780571328499
5 stars
Emma Carroll’s genius lies in her ability to transport the reader back in history and gives them such a sense of time and place that you find yourself right there, amongst the story watching it unfold before your very eyes. London, 1922. Lil’s grandfather is seriously ill and sent on an errand she finds a mysterious parcel on his doorstep. Even more mysterious is the sender of the parcel, a famous Egyptologist who has died in the most extraordinary circumstances that very morning. Unknown to Lil the strange parcel contains a secret hidden inside which holds the key to a story about a famous Egyptian king whose tomb everyone is desperate to find. With the help of her friends, Lil has to undertake a remarkable journey to return the package to it’s rightful resting place, in the hope it will save her grandfather and break the deadly pharaoh’s curse.
Emma has created a truly remarkable story in ‘The Secrets of the Sun King.’ Skilfully weaving this tale with so much excitement and mystery, then liberally sprinkling with darkness and danger to create a thrilling, enthralling adventure. The characterisation is just flawless, Emma has assembled a delightful cast of characters. I completely fell in love with Lil, a scholarship girl who doesn’t quite fit in at her school but has the most fierce determination to do what is right even if it lands her in trouble. Her willingness to do whatever it takes to protect her family, even at the risk to her own well being is really endearing. She is drawn to the daring Tulip who although seemingly has everything she could wish for, is just like her an outsider who is also fiercely lovely to her family especially her brother Oz. Every person within this story has a secret, a longing, that they feel the need to keep locked away.
Emma cleverly creates stories that contain so many layers of thought within them, they have a real depth that I always enjoy. Despite it being four years since World War One ended we still feel the damage still lingering in the grief of Tulip’s family over the loss of their brother and the emotional damage to Lil’s father mental health. We can feel the inequalities that still exist for the working class through Lil’s father’s determination for her to have an education so she can have a better life. It also explores the uneasiness surrounding the treatment of ancient Egyptian artefacts and the entitlement to ownership that was felt by this wealthy explorers and archaeologists. All of these thoughts and feelings running parallel to the story make it so much more than an intoxicating adventure. These elements combined with her ability to write gripping, page-turning tales confirm Emma as an incredibly special and genuinely talented writer, whose books I absolutely adore.
22nd August '18
NB15 read it themselves aged 10 aged 10
Secrets of a Sun King 9780571328499
5 stars
Our first book by Emma Carroll but definitely not our last.
Set in 1920s London this story is full of mystery, intrigue and some real cliffhangers. A lot of references to actual places in London makes it all the more realistic, and the descriptive historical facts and references are interesting and educational. The main characters are very likeable. 
Neve has studied ancient Egypt at school last term so this book was incredibly enjoyable, and extremely difficult to put down as she(and I, her mum) wanted to know what was going to happen next. 
Would highly recommend this book to fans of Michael Morpurgo. Very happy to have discovered this author and will be looking out for her other books.
29th August '18
I read it myself (an adult)
Secrets of a Sun King 9780571328499
5 stars
I am looking forward to sharing this fantastic book at school. Emma Carroll has intertwined fictional adventure with historical fact perfectly in this enthralling tale of ancient Egypt. Lil, a 1920’s London schoolgirl, is drawn into a quest by the sudden illness of her Egyptologist grandfather and the appearance of a mysterious cursed package. This books follows Lil on her journey to Egypt, as she uncovers the secret life and death of a boy king, as well as the secrets and struggles of her own family. 

I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of this layered and intriguing novel, as I was completely swept along with by the delightful cast of characters Carroll created. I would highly recommend this book and have passed it to Year 5 - with the view of them using during their Egyptian topic. 
25th July '18
I read it to Darth aged 9 aged 9
Secrets of a Sun King 9780571328499
5 stars
A brilliant historical adventure story set in 1922, at the time when Tutuncamun's tomb was discovered. We were totally drawn to the main female character, Lil and her total devotion to her grandad. Lil is tasked with returning an item to Egypt. She is aided in her quest by her friends Oz and Tulip. We don't want to spoil it for you but we really enjoyed it. My son loves Egyptology and all the historical details. We especially enjoyed reading the question and answer session with the author at the end of the story. It really helps to give an insight into the story writing process. A great read!
18th August '18
JH23 read it themselves aged 10 aged 10
Secrets of a Sun King 9780571328499
5 stars
I really enjoyed this book. Given to me as a holiday present, I couldn't put it down, even when I was asked if I wanted to go to the beach! Much like Emma Carroll's previous book, Letters from the Lighthouse, it includes a mixture of action and mystery and you just can't predict what will happen. A real favourite from one of my favourite Authors!
6th September '18
I read it myself (an adult)
Secrets of a Sun King 9780571328499
5 stars
A story set in Ancient Egypt with the infamous Howard Carter, Lilian, the main character, goes through a whirlwind of events to discover a secret with her newly found best friends. Emma Carroll has written this book just as beautifully as the previous ones before, and this is an exceptional story to accompany any Ancient Egypt unit being taught in KS2.
13th September '18
NancieNoodles read it themselves aged 8 aged 8
Secrets of a Sun King 9780571328499
5 stars
From beginning to end the character of Lil had me hooked. She is very courageous. It's like being taken back in time listening to the tales of her grandad in the war and hearing the vocab we don't often use nowadays.

A story that the whole family can enjoy!
30th July '18
I read it to rsa aged 8 aged 8
Secrets of a Sun King 9780571328499
4 stars
We shared the reading of this one. An enjoyable historical adventure story set in the 1920s. It brought to life the times, the effects of the First World War on both women and men, relationships within families. My son enjoyed the historical aspects of the book and was interested to hear about the real Lord Carnarvon. At times it did seem a little overly complicated and there were quite a few somewhat unbelievable coincidences/connections at the end. However, I liked how relationship between friends and family members were written. There was quite a bit to discuss in these respects with my son. I would definitely recommend this novel to older primary children.
9th September '18
I read it myself (an adult)
Secrets of a Sun King 9780571328499
4 stars
I initially decided to read the book for two reasons. One, the author has been very successful in the past with previous books (Letters from a Lighthouse for example), and even though I have not read any, I have seen good reviews of them. She is very well known for her historical fiction novels. Secondly, the book is set in Ancient Egypt, which I will be teaching to my class soon (I am a primary school teacher). The opening lines, make for an exciting start, 'One filthy wet Wednesday morning, the world stopped making sense', and the gruesome discovery in the newspaper is a great hook. However, initially, for some reason, and I haven't been able to work out why, I did not bond with the characters and felt that their speech was very stale and computer like. Having said that, after a couple of chapters the strength of the story really took hold of me, and I wanted to find out what was going to happen. The story continues at a pace and weaves between London, modern Egypt and Ancient Egypt. Perhaps, as you get to know the characters and their emotional journey, the connection is more pure? I really did feel that by the end I had actually learnt some great facts about London at that time, and Egypt in the ancient times - a real achievement for a children's story! 
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About Emma Carroll

Abi Elphinstone grew up in Scotland where she spent most of her childhood building dens, hiding in tree houses and running wild across highland glens. After being coaxed out of her tree house, she studied English at Bristol University and then worked as a teacher in Africa, Berkshire and London. She is the author of THE DREAMSNATCHER, THE SHADOW KEEPER and T...

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