This is another book that I was invited to review by the author. It is about a group of friends that go on an exciting treasure hunt. It begins when Nat Sheppard, the main character, hears that her father has to sell the old family farm because it is losing money. But soon after, Nat discovers there may be a way to save the farm when she and her siblings, Jack and Kathleen, discover a secret room in their attic. In the room, they find a chest with an old letter from Rewi Te Kaitiaki, their great-great grandfather, to Natalia, their great-great grandmother. The letter contains mysterious maps and a copy of the book “Sinbad the Sailor”. Along with their friends, Riki, Abraham, Elijah, and Barnaby, they soon are on a treasure hunt in nearby caves searching for jewels. But they aren’t the only ones chasing the gems. A group of people, led by Cain Wylie, will destroy anything that gets in their way of getting the treasure.
The story is a great adventure, full of mysteries and surprises. Once, Nat barely dodges a bullet (literally) from Cain Wylie! And there is a part where Kathleen goes missing and Nat finds her in a magical, hidden grotto. Yes, there is even some magic in this story.
The story is set in New Zealand and the Māori culture is a pretty important part of the book. The Māori are an ancient culture native to New Zealand. Two of the main characters, Riki and Abraham Te Kaitiaki, are decedents from the Māori tribe, and part of the treasure hunt includes legends from the Māori culture. It was interesting to learn a bit about the Māori through this book.
One of my favorite characters is Riki. She is always up for adventure and excitement. She is also smart and responsible. She always seems to know what to say or do. In one part of the book, she and her uncle Abraham even do some sort of Māori magic when they are being chased by Cain Wylie’s men. The magic raised Māori ghosts that made Cain Wylie’s crew run away screaming.
Although this is really a great book, there are a few small gaps in the story. Cain Wylie and his crew knew about the treasure, but it is not clear how they learned about it. They practically just show up out of the blues chasing the treasure. There is also a part in the book where Abraham explains why the treasure is called Sinbad’s Treasure, but his explanation is not clear. In particular, I’m not sure why people left the treasure chests as an offering to Sinbad. Was he considered a god? Although the gaps don’t hurt the story, I would still like to know the answers.
Overall, I think this is a great book. My 11 year-old brother wouldn’t like it because it has some “girl power”, so I think it’s more for girls ages 10-13.
By the way, a digital version of this book is free at Smashwords and other major book sellers. Also, this is the first book in “The Natnat Adventures.” The second book, “The Ship of Sight and The Hand of Shadow,” just came out.