Monday, May 8, 2017

Two Books by Nick Bantock

No good image of this exists online
The Pharos Gate, by Nick Bantock
The Egyptian Jukebox, by Nick Bantock

A while ago I re-read the Griffin and Sabine trilogy, and  then I read the second trilogy, which had come out while I wasn't looking.  I found that second set to be a bit confusing.  Then, just recently, I discovered that a new book had come out upon Griffin and Sabine's 25th anniversary, and it purported to tell the outcome of the story.  I requested that and ILLed this other, intriguingly titled Bantock book at the same time.  So...

The Egyptian Jukebox is a puzzle book, published in 1993.  It reminded me of nothing so much as the I Spy books for kids that my daughter loved so much when she was younger; it's just much more elaborate.  There is this jukebox with ten drawers, each of which plays a recording of a story.  Your job is to read the story, study the matching drawer, and follow the clues.  Each drawer yields a letter; all the letters make the answer to the riddle of the jukebox.

I will admit that I had to do a little cheating to get started.  I couldn't understand how the clues worked at first and looked up a hint.  After that, I did OK and spent a couple of evenings (with the enthusiastic help of the I Spy-loving-daughter) figuring out the drawers.  I liked the puzzles; the drawers are fun to inspect and tricky to solve, but not impossible.  It's probably inevitable that the answer to the riddle is less fun than the puzzles are.  It's a fun book.


The Pharos Gate is the concluding volume to the story of Griffin and Sabine, and I found it pretty satisfying.  They arrange to meet at the Pharos Gate in Alexandria on a particular date, and each starts a long and winding journey.  Somehow they still manage to correspond, and a strange villain pursues each of them -- but why would anybody want to do that? 

I enjoyed this final volume a good deal.  It does furnish a pretty satisfying ending, which the second trilogy did not.  I may now revisit that second trilogy and see if it makes more sense now....

Also, I always want to make arty stationery like what Griffin and Sabine have, and I wouldn't know how to begin.  Sigh.

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