Zet and the Egyptian Temple Mystery by Scott Peters Preview

Zet and the Egyptian Temple Mystery

I've spent the last few days working on the final touches for Zet and the Egyptian Temple Mystery. Writing Book 3 in the Zet mystery series has been intense. I love this book a lot. I think it's the best in the series so far.
Zet and the Temple Princess Mystery is Zet's third case. If you've read the first 2 books, you've met Zet and know that he's the oldest of 3 siblings. He's learned things from his past adventures. But this case is different. It's far more challenging, and Zet is taken completely out of his element. I learned a lot about Zet as I wrote his story. He surprised me several times! 
image: Egyptian winged sun god
Q: I really liked Zet's friend Hui. Will he be in more stories with Zet? 
Ah, Zet's best friend, the trickster! As it turns out, Hui plays a big role in Book 3. When the two boys get together, trouble generally follows. This story is no exception. What made it even more fun to write is that they leave their town of Thebes and travel north to solve the mystery.
Zet and the Egyptian Temple Mystery is just ten days away from release, and I'm starting to get super excited. I can't wait to hear what you think of the book. I hope you'll love Zet in his new challenge as much as I do. You'll also learn more about Kat, Hui, the Queen Mother and Pharaoh's family. Surprises are in store!
But if you're eager to read Zet's story now, I have a special treat for you. A sneak peak of Chapter One:

Zet and the
Egyptian Temple

By Scott Peters

Chapter One
Strange Visitors

12-year-old Zet grabbed at the pair of lean arms that tightened around his neck. He tried to shout, but his shout came out as a gasp. He lurched forward, pulling the boy with him. The two of them fell to the ground. They rolled several times across the sun-scorched paving stones.
With a shout of triumph, Zet yanked himself free.
"I won!" Zet said.
"It's not over yet," shouted his best friend, Hui.
Hui lunged again. The boys were equally matched. Hui usually had some trick up his sleeve, but Zet was fast on his toes. He sprinted to the edge of Hui's rooftop. The gap was several feet wide, and two stories deep.
Zet glanced back over his shoulder and then jumped.
He cleared the gap and landed on all fours, just a hand's width from the drop. On the opposite roof, Hui charged and took his own flying leap. Zet headed for the next roof, and then another.
Four rooftops down, he threw a glance backward. Not watching where he was going, he let out an oof as he slammed into a tall, soft figure. It was old Teni.
She screeched. The basket of laundry in her arms flew one way, Zet went the other. He landed on his behind and winced.
"What, by the gods, are you doing up here?" she cried. Her cheeks were bright red, contrasting with her braided wool wig. She glanced at the top of the neighboring house and spotted Hui, who looked like a guilty dog.
"And you, too!" Teni cried. "Your mothers will hear about this!"
"Sorry," Zet said and scrambled to his feet. He quickly started gathering Teni's laundry.
"Leave it! Your hands are filthy! Hui, get over here now. Both of you are going back onto the street where you belong."
Shamefaced, Hui came across. Teni ordered them down the roof hatch. At the bottom of her ladder, she grabbed the two of them by their ears, dragged them through her house, thrust them outside and slammed her door.
"Oops," Zet said, unable to suppress a grin.
"You can say that again," Hui said. "My mother is going to kill me."
"Well, my mother is baking right now. I say we go to my house and eat cake before she finds out. Because after that, I probably won't be eating cake for weeks."
Hui's eyes lit up. "Cake! Race you!"
Together, they sprinted down the narrow streets of Thebes, laughing. Late afternoon sunlight burned down. Hot, bright rays gave way to cool shadows as they turned into a side street.
It had been weeks since Zet had saved Hui from the whole cursed scarab mystery. The upside was that Zet had his best friend back. Ever since their fathers went to war, life had seemed far too serious. Zet ran the family pottery stall with his younger sister, Kat, while their mother took care of the baby at home. But now, with Hui around, the days the market was closed had become a lot more fun.
The downside was that Hui was out of work. An incredibly skilled novice jeweler, Hui had been the star apprentice at the Kemet workshop. The other downside was that Hui and Zet's sister Kat had huge crushes on each other, which for some weird reason meant that Hui and Kat spent a lot of time arguing—with Zet stuck in the middle.
Go figure.
"Wait till Kat hears about Teni," Hui said with a grin. In that moment, he looked just like his family's household god—Bes—the ancient trickster himself.
"Kat will not want to hear about Teni," Zet said.
"What? Kat will think it's hilarious. She'll love it!"
Zet groaned. He could just picture his younger sister's face. She might only be eleven, but she had a no-nonsense, logical side when it came to anything that might hurt sales at their pottery stall. He could feel a Kat-Hui argument coming on.
"Kat will not love it," he tried to explain. "She thinks upsetting the neighbors is bad for business."
"She'll think it's worth it when I tell her about the look on Teni's face—" Hui paused, staring ahead. "What's going on up there?"
They had just rounded the corner into Zet's street. Two-story, mud brick houses with brightly painted doors lined the well-swept, narrow lane. At the far end, standing in single file before Zet's front steps, stood six uniformed guards.
At first, Zet thought the men were medjay, the city police. But then he saw the heavy weapons on their hips and the medals that gleamed at their shoulders. Most carried fiber shields and several wore helmets.
"What are they doing at your place?" Hui said.
Zet walked faster. "I don't know." He broke into a run. Was it possible? Had the thing he wanted most finally come true?
Hui matched him stride for stride. "What do you think they want?"
"Father," Zet gasped, running. "My father must be home! Back from fighting the Hyksos invaders!"
Hui latched onto Zet's arm. He yanked him to a stop. "Wait."
Zet tried to shake him off. "Let go! What are you doing! I haven't seen my father in over a year."
"If your father was home, others would be too. Mine would be, and . . . well . . ."
Zet's expression faltered. A sick feeling grabbed him. He glanced at the soldiers. They stood, arms crossed over their breastplates, and stared stiffly straight ahead.
No, Hui was right. This was no welcome home party. If Father was back, the war would be over, and the whole town would be celebrating.
"That's true." Still, he started forward, a lump in his throat.
"Maybe your father won a medal," Hui said, trying to grin, but his expression was shaky. "And they've come to tell you about it."
Zet nodded, not saying what they both really thought. Medals that arrived like this were bleak things.
"Whatever the reason, I have to know. Now."
He approached his front steps. Please let father still be alive.
The closest soldier raised a thick arm to bar his way. "Name?"
"Zet, son of Nefer. And this is my friend Hui. Why are you here?"
"I am not authorized to say. Please, go inside. They're waiting."
Fearing the worst, Zet stepped through the door. Hui followed and the soldier shut it firmly behind them.
For some reason, the windows had all been fastened tightly shut. After the fierce brightness outside, it took a moment for his eyes to adjust. Not only was the front room unbearably hot, it was full of more soldiers.
Kat appeared, maneuvering her way clear of the adults. Zet's sister grabbed his wrist.
"Thank Ra you're here. I was just about to come looking for you!" Kat's cheeks were bright. "She's back!"
Zet frowned. "Who's back? Why are the soldiers here?"
"Come on." She dragged him forward.
Zet glanced back at Hui, who looked equally mystified. The soldiers parted to let the three of them through.
Zet spotted his mother first.
"Zet!" she said, sounding relieved.
A cloaked figure sat next to his mother on one of their comfortably worn pillows. The hood fell back when the figure glanced up, revealing a wrinkled, familiar face. The old visitor did not meet his eyes. She couldn't. She was blind.
Hui elbowed Zet hard. "That's the Queen Mother!" he whispered in awe.
"I know," Zet said, grinning.
He breathed a shaky sigh of relief. His father was safe. But why had Pharaoh's mother come?

* * *
image: mystery of the Egyptian Scroll

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