“The Emerald Ring” is White’s debut novel and is the first in the “Cleopatra’s Legacy” series.
About the book:
Ordinary “tween” life turns upside down when Ancient Egypt intrudes on modern middle school life. Twelve-year-old Sara Guadalupe Bogus reads about adventures, but unexpectedly is drawn into one when a mystical emerald ring that once belonged to Cleopatra becomes stuck on her finger.
Now that her dad had checked on her, Sara knew she’d be left alone; it was the perfect time for reading. Her newest book lay on the nightstand, and a flashlight waited under her pillow. She loved to read at night—it felt sneaky and mischievous. A person could have an adventure without ever leaving bed. Reading would take her mind of things too. She made it to chapter four before yawning, loud and long.
When her eyes started to droop, she started. Something felt wrong. It took her a second, but she realized there was sand in her bed—a lot of sand. The feeling of grit brought her wide awake. The grains still radiated heat from the day’s sun, hot and pleasant. Sara’s anxiety left, replaced by comfy warmth. A feeling of the sublime filled her as she arched her body, enjoying a long stretch. A purr of sheer contentment erupted as she rolled onto her stomach, allowing the abrasive sand to smooth her skin.
Finally, she rose to her feet. A vast desert greeted her, its stark beauty inspiring a moment of awe. Then, without a thought, she started walking south. Every direction looked similar, but south felt like home. Everything appeared unnaturally sharp and vivid. She could see individual grains of sand being tossed in the wind and hear the chirps of bugs among the dunes. This is the best dream ever!
Minutes later, a city lay in the valley before her. The centerpiece was a huge, monstrous building that rose fifty feet tall. A billow of sand settled around her feet as she stopped, stunned. Even from here she could see the details of the building clearly. Someone skilled had worked here. Enormous stone statues, deadly looking spears clasped in their hands, stood guard on each side of a dark opening. Their strong profiles scared Sara. Despite brilliant blues, vibrant greens, and deep reds, they weren’t beautiful. They were fearsome. They stood sentinel in powerful silence, looking ready to spring to life at a moment’s notice.
An intense desire to move filled her. Unable to control herself, Sara ran into the city, heading straight for the monstrous building. Once there, she raced up the stairs, over the threshold, and through the cavernous opening. In the entryway, torches splashed light upon the walls and long walkways took off in different directions. Sara felt confused, and her mind seemed split. One side felt she was home, but another side knew she wasn’t.
The side of her brain that knew where it was made a decision and she padded off down the left hallway. The first room she came to was filled with steam, rolling and swirling out the doorway like an angry storm. She poked her head inside; incredibly, a giant bathing chamber greeted her. The entire center of the room held a lush pool, steam rising from its depths. Several women wearing white tunics with blue sashes walked around the room, their bronze skin gleaming with sweat. In their hands, they held ceramic urns, beautifully decorated with painted figures. From the containers, they poured oil into the pool—sweet lavender oil.
Another woman carried a small basket filled with rose petals. She carefully sprinkled the flowers into the large bath where they floated, lazy and content. Across the room, another woman laid out an assortment of clean robes on a velvet settee, a beautiful selection of fabrics for someone to choose. Nearby, Sara could see a collection of jewelry: rubies, diamonds, and glittering sapphires. That’s so awesome! The women ignored Sara as she padded silently through the room, weaving slowly between them.