Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

The explosive reveal about... People of the Sun (The Eye of Ra #3) by Ben Gartner

"This is Gartner's finest, most nuanced book in the series, and literally EVERYTHING is at stake here. It's the kind of story that can be enjoyed by younger readers looking for an exciting read or deeper thinkers who love to ponder the intricacies of time travel and the hidden histories we aren't taught in school." Shawn P., Goodreads


The explosive reveal about who John and Sarah really are and why they’re traveling through time, with their most gut-wrenching challenge yet.

In the time of the Aztec, a scoundrel named Cortés arrives and the kids are forced to make an extremely difficult decision: If you could change history, should you? For more twists, more danger, and more fun, read the third book in The Eye of Ra series, People of the Sun!

A Space for Wonder

"His method was rooted in experiment, curiosity, and the ability to marvel at phenomena that the rest of us rarely pause to ponder after we’ve outgrown our wonder years." -Walter Isaacson, Leonardo da Vinci

Describe the tongue of a woodpecker. Isaacson calls out this line from one of Leonardo’s journals, jotted among other items like a to-do list. That sense of unending curiosity is a big part of why “Leonardo da Vinci” has grown to mythic proportions. Of course, he was a gifted artist as well, no doubt, but the reason his persona has intrigued so many was precisely because of the variety of subjects he explored, and the depths to which he went. He uncovered some concepts that wouldn’t be discovered again until centuries later. He dissected bodies, pontificated on how to drain swamps, drew schematics for giant weapons of war, and was constantly in search of knowledge through firsthand experience.

As I was reading this biographical tome, it occurred to me that maybe that’s a great way to describe middle grade writers—that we haven’t outgrown our wonder years. I know I am constantly playing “What If” games with my own two sons. Imagination Land, where anything can happen.

“What if you could fly safely into the big storm on Jupiter?”

“What if you met Imhotep, the architect of the world’s first pyramid tomb?”

“What if you were caught in a gladiator arena?”

“What if you were there to help build the underground caves below the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan?”

“What if you could slow time?”

That last one is a perennial classic, but, I think often, as adults, we chuckle and dismiss the idea with something trite like “Yep, that’d be cool.” But we don’t really let our imagination fold into that possibility. We don’t set our expectations for a firm reality aside and really get sucked into a world where, yes, you could actually slow down time. What would you do with that power?

I know we are all busy. But I encourage you to take a few minutes, right now, and ponder something seemingly trivial, or seemingly too grand, something like what the tongue of a woodpecker might look like. Or what will happen in five billion years when the Andromeda galaxy collides with our Milky Way. Or just contemplate some other wonder, like how magnificent it is that a wave through the air can push on tiny hairs in your ear canal, triggering the neurochemical reaction we call “sound.”

Of course, your mind will drift back to the things you have to do today. But, just don’t forget to make a little space for wonder every day.


When they came out of a pine forest and could see the lake below, with Tenochtitlan as a dazzling island city, John couldn’t help but mutter, “Wow.”

He heard his sister mumble the same thing.

The city sparkled and spread out with a much bigger footprint than John had imagined. He’d heard of the famed city of the Aztec, but he’d always pictured something . . . smaller. This was a regular metropolis, with suburbs and floating islands and multiple huge temples. Canoes drifted on canals like the pictures he’d seen of Venice in Italy, though these canoes were loaded with goods headed to market. Farther out into the lake, men cast nets and brought up flopping silver fish, their scales sparkling in the sun.

John’s mouth watered when he saw a floating garden bursting with leafy greens. The rectangular plot of land had poles sticking out of each side, securing boards that held the dirt like a raised garden bed back home. But this was in the middle of the lake. John squinted at the marvel of it all.
The sound of sloshing water pulled his stare toward a stone trough that started in the hills and was then suspended on man-made islands right across the lake and into the city. “An aqueduct?”

“For our drinking water,” Ome said.
“But you’re on a lake,” John said, implying that there was fresh water all around.
“Lake Texcoco is too salty to drink. Great for the fish, bad for the people,” Huitzi said.
“There are dikes that keep some fresh water close to the island, but that is used for farming,” Ome added.

Wow. John never knew that either. They lived on a lake and yet had to build a system of aqueducts to bring in safe drinking water. Amazing.

About the author:
Ben Gartner is the award-winning author of The Eye of Ra time travel adventure series for middle graders. 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. 
If people would like to learn more about me or my books, the best place to find me is my website:

Author's Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Ben Gartner said...

This guest post was a special one to me. Thanks for hosting!

Stormy Vixen said...

I enjoyed the guest post and your book sounds like a thrilling read! Congratulations on your upcoming release! Good luck with your book and the tour! Thanks for bringing your series to my attention and have a spectacular holiday season!

Sherry said...

Sounds like a great book.

Cali W. said...

Great excerpt and giveaway. :)

Diane E said...

Your book sounds very exciting to read. Thank you for this giveaway.

Michele S. said...

I really like the art work on all the covers.

amanda whitley said...

Going to show my 10 year old, i think he would love this book.

Christi G. said...

I love the beautiful cover and the excerpt. Thanks for the giveaway!

Nancy P said...

Great cover

pippirose said...

This book sounds fascinating. Beautiful cover!

Kim said...

I liked the guest post.

Kim said...

How did you come up with the idea for this series?

laurie nykaza said...

This sounds like a great book to read and I also like the cover too.