I am a huge fan of M.A.Bennett’s The Butterfly Club and am delighted to feature her guest post on the blog. In line with the spirit of her time-travelling adventure, it’s smoothly written and chock-full of fascinating historical snippets. The book itself has all of this, plus a gripping storyline that sees time-theives Luna, Konstantin and Aiden travel to Egypt, 1922, to find Tutankhamun’s mummy. But the three children uncover so much more…
As you will soon learn, The Mummy’s Curse is a timely sequel and its many layers make it perfect for the classroom. There are even the free discussion notes you can download using the following link.
Guest Post by M.A. Bennett
On the 4th November 2022, it will be exactly 100 years since the discovery of the most significant archaeological find of all time; the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun. We’ll be inundated with TV shows and articles in the press and online about the well-worn story of the enormously rich Lord Carnarvon, resident of Highclere Castle (aka Downton Abbey) who funded the Egyptologist Howard Carter for a number of years until, with the last roll of the dice, Carter found the long-lost tomb. But in my new book in the Butterfly Club series for Middle Grade, THE MUMMY’S CURSE, I look at this world-changing event from a very different perspective.
All the Butterfly Club books hinge on a theorem called The Butterfly Effect, a concept that states that the mere flap of a butterfly’s wings in one place can have a huge impact in another place far away. Each book features time-travelling thieves Luna, Konstantin and Aidan who travel forward in time from Greenwich, London in 1894 to steal artefacts from the future on behalf of a shadowy secret society called The Butterfly Club. Each story focusses on one extraordinary real-life character from the past, who, in a small way, changed history; and THE MUMMY’S CURSE is no different.
The real hook for me in the Tutankhamun story was the discovery that it was a twelve-year-old waterboy – Hussein Abdel Rassoul – who actually found Tutankhamun’s tomb first. Abdel’s mule stumbled on a long stone in the Valley of the Kings which turned out to be the top step of twelve, leading down into the most incredible treasure chamber ever found. Howard Carter himself recognised Abdel’s contribution to the find, awarding him with a priceless pectoral pendant from the tomb, made of gold and decorated with lapis scarabs as big as your fist. I thought Abdel would be such a good conduit into the story for a Middle Grade reader, as a boy just their age made the greatest archaeological discovery of all time.
I also like to use the adventures as an opportunity to get kids to think about bigger themes. For instance, my character Konstantin is German-born, and in 1894 where he lives, everyone is friends. But in The Mummy’s Curse, he is transported to 1922, just after the terrible First World War. Among the English in Egypt, there is a lot of anti-German feeling. Similarly, Lady Evelyn Herbert, Lord Carnarvon’s daughter, has quite progressive ideas about women, who have just been given the vote. To the children from 1894, that idea is inconceivable. The time travel device is a good one to put ourselves in the shoes of others, and also to bring little known figures – like Abdel Rassoul – into focus, when they might otherwise fade and be forgotten.
Abdel Rassoul in Tutankhamun’s pendant
Make sure to follow the rest of the tour. See when and where below.