In December 1871, 14-year-old twins Rose and Lily accompany their mother and Egyptologist father to Egypt. After Rose is given a small cat statue, she begins having strange dreams of the ancient past through the eyes of a cat named Miut. Around Miut’s neck hangs a valuable secret that must be delivered to the high priest’s tomb before its sealed, a mission the followers of Seth hope to stop. Even more curious, a man named Mr. Baxter begins watching Rose’s every move and seems unusually interested in her statue. Unfortunately, her concerns are dismissed by the adults. When Rose finds herself pursued by a stranger during a visit to Cairo, Rose and Lily must find ways to prove these suspicions to their parents before the shadows chasing Rose, and Miut, catch up with them.
Nile Cat is a grand middle-grade adventure that sweeps readers back in time, first to Victorian-era Egypt and then to the reign of King Ramesses II. The twins grow in self-confidence as they learn to speak up for themselves and show courage amid dangerous situations. Some of the villains are slightly melodramatic, but this fits well with the novel’s style. I truly enjoyed the wondrous sight-seeing chapters of the Giza pyramids and Saqqara (spelled “Sakkara” in the book). I did get slightly lost as Rose and Lily were running through the Saqqara/Sakkara tunnels, but I still felt the urgency of the situation despite being a bit turned around. This is a great introduction for young readers to learn about ancient Egypt as they unravel the mystery of Rose’s dreams and Mr. Baxter’s strange behavior. Nile Cat is a marvelous, hard-to-put-down read. I wonder if a sequel is in store? I quite enjoyed experiencing both ancient and not-so-ancient Egypt through the intrepid sister duo. Highly recommended.