This is book two of the Ulysses Moore series, and the story picks up the adventure immediately after the first book (The Door to Time) closed off. In the previous episode, twins Jason and Julia and their friend Rick find that there's a lot more to Kilmore Cove than meets the eye. After solving many brain-teasing riddles and surviving lots of physical challenges, they discover an ancient ship, the "Metis", hidden in an underground grotto. The next thing they know they find themselves in ancient Egypt, courtesy of the magical ship, and there's somebody or something knocking on the other side of the wall.
As we pick up the action, the wall caves in under the onslaught from the other side, and during the mad scramble to escape, Julia finds herself not only separated from the boys, but back where she started, and back in the present. Jason and Rick have only one chance to get back home, and that is to locate the long-lost map (hence the title) which is hidden somewhere in the Land of Punt in ancient Egypt.
Assisted by a new friend, the boys face yet another set of mental and physical challenges, as they learn the complicated filing system of the time (the early Dewey Decimal Classification perhaps), improve their knowledge of Egyptian mythology, and outwit the bad guys (or should I say bad girl) from the present time who's also after the map for her own nefarious purposes. Meanwhile, back in the present, Julia also has her hands full, assisting the caretaker Nestor to stave off an attack by an evil henchman with a plan of his own.
Patterned off the Lemony Snicket books to a large extent, the dialogue and writing style is for slightly younger readers than the ones who devour each new Rowling, Colfer, Funke, Nix, or Riordan book, but would be suitable for the 8 - 10 age group. This is a great book to spark a young reader's interest in Egyptian mythology, as well as puzzle solving and logic.
Amanda Richards, July 12, 2006