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Sol Invictus

A middle-grade time-travel historical adventure by Ben Gartner

cover of Sol Invictus by Ben Gartner

Siblings John and Sarah barely made it home last time, but in their next time traveling adventure the challenge really heats up. Surrounded by clashing cultures on the ancient Roman frontier, they must fulfill their quest to unite the emperor with his enemy, an Alemanni barbarian, or risk being stuck in time forever.

An action-packed fantasy full of sword fights, chariot chases, fearsome wild animals, and high mountain survival. For graduates of the Magic Tree House looking for a thrilling middle grade page-turner, read Sol Invictus, book two of The Eye of Ra series!

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Sarah instantly recognized those distinct green eyes sunk into that deeply tanned and wrinkled face, the long beard dappled with gray.


The man who had been covered in a rockslide and then taken away by police. The tomb robber. The ancient Egyptian time traveler. Memories of their last adventure barraged Sarah’s brain like an overwhelming lightning storm. Then her survival reflex blared in alarm.

She swung the scepter toward Aten, and the man recoiled.

“Stay back!” Sarah shouted.

“You must go,” Aten said.

“No, you must go,” Sarah replied, shaking the scepter and moving John behind her. Aten blocked their exit.

“I am but a humble messenger sent by the gods.” He put both hands in the air and flicked his eyes toward the ceiling. “Sent by Ra and Khonsu, the gods of the sun and the moon, of light and travel.” He looked down to Sarah and John. “The gods have chosen you. And so you must go.”

“What does that mean?” John asked. “How did you get out of jail?”

“That doesn’t matter,” Sarah said. “Let us leave or I’ll scream.”

Aten grinned. “The gods visited me in my prison cell, where I swore allegiance to them. Yes, I was a thief and a liar, but I have seen the light of Ra and repented. It was they that gave us the power to travel through time. In return for my fealty, they rescued me from that foul place. I will not hurt you, but nor will I fail the gods. You will meet them too someday, when the time is right, and you will see. But for now, you will trust me because I have traveled through the eye of Ra just as you have.”

The hairs on Sarah’s arm tingled.

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I read the previous book in this series (The Eye of Ra) and very much enjoyed it. So when this came up for review, it was an easy decision. No regrets. This book takes the previous book and expands upon the characters and world, which all leads to a satisfying conclusion. And it looks like there are more books coming, which is fine by me.

I loved the expansion of the main characters. The sibling relationship felt so real, and the emotions were genuine. I found myself cheering for the good guys and feeling badly for some of the bad guys. I love that this series isn’t black-and-white in terms of bad vs. good. Makes for very interesting reading.

All in all, this was developed well and a joy to read. I look forward to more in this series or from a new series by the author.

About Ben Gartner

Ben Gartner is the award-winning author of The Eye of Ra adventure series for middle graders (ages 8-12). His books take readers for a thrilling ride, maybe even teaching them something in the meantime. Ben can be found living and writing near the mountains with his wife and two boys.

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Ben Gartnerwill be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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10 thoughts on “Review+Giveaway: Sol Invictus by Ben Gartner

  1. I like to call it Writer's Pause because even when you're not physically typing into the keyboard, those ideas are still coalescing and stewing in your brain somewhere, guaranteed… My only real writer's \”block\” is not having enough time!! ;)Thanks for the question, Jeffrey.

  2. Yes? 😉 I do plan the ending, but sometimes it morphs and becomes fine-tuned as I write, so I'm always open to following the muse instead of being constrained by a pre-defined outline. That said, it's definitely nice to have a general idea of where you're headed!

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