Two Books by Nick Bantock
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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.