Curse of the Cobra

Written by Scott Peters
Review by Steve Donoghue

Set in the ancient Egypt of 1323 BC, Curse of the Cobra is the story of a boy named Ramses who has great skill at drawing but, when we meet him, horrible luck: his parents have died, and their farm has passed to his imperious, short-tempered Aunt Zalika and Uncle Hay, who install themselves in the family home, install their sickly son Sepi in Ramses’ old room, and send Ramses himself out to work in the fields with the rest of the hired hands. Fortunately, the farm manager and his wife are kind people who stick up for Ramses—and he also gets along quite well with his cousin, who one day informs him that the revered temple called the Place of Truth is looking outside its own dwindling ranks for a new apprentice. There’s to be a contest, and Ramses longs to compete, despite all the obstacles in his way. This novel is billed as a young adult story, but Peters is such a natural and gifted storyteller, so adept at bringing the sights and sounds and smells of ancient Egypt alive, that readers of all ages will be swept along.