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New Titles Teen & Young Adult - Fiction

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Five Hieroglyphs

ISBN: 9781634896214
Binding: Hardcover
Author: Stephen T. Person
Pages: 320
Trim: 6 x 9 inches
Published: 08/01/2023

In this inspiring and richly illustrated young adult mystery-adventure, a Chicago teen discovers that Egyptian hieroglyphs may be more relevant—and powerful—than he thought.

"A dazzling, erudite tale of archaeological intrigue and self-discovery." —Fredric P. Williams, retired director of exhibits, Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service

A cruise to the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World turns dangerous for 17-year-old Dante Rivera when he defies orders to stop blogging about a shadowy organization that collects legendary antiquities.

As Dante falls ever deeper into harm's way, his connection to Thoth—the ancient Egyptian god of wisdom, magic, and writing—grows.

The sudden appearance of a series of Egyptian hieroglyphs—signals from Thoth, he's convinced—leads Dante to revelations that could spark an untapped talent and self-discovery.

Inspired by this new guide to push on, Dante begins to gain insights into the secretive organization, its connection to an Ancient Wonder lost to history, and its possible link to his estranged father. Will Dante prevail against the weight of a haunting childhood memory and the nefarious organization dead set on his downfall?

Five Hieroglyphs brings to life the power of myth, memory, and dream, and speaks to the importance of ancestral connections and of finding courage and purpose during moments of crisis. Set against the sea, the sky, and the majesty of the Seven Wonders, Five Hieroglyphs evokes the archaeological adventures of the Amelia Peabody Series; the mythology fiction of The Alexander CipherThe Red Pyramid, and The Seven Wonders Book Series; and the themes of ancestral truths and justice in ElatsoeIllustrated with 26 original woodcut-style drawings.

"That's the magic of traveling. To just drop into a new location and let it hit you—its sights and sounds, its people. And maybe discover something unexpected about yourself, too . . ."

"Five Hieroglyphs will make a reader and a history buff out of even the most reluctant young readers." —Jason Cummings, PhD, director of student programs, Global Online Academy


Stephen T. Person was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and now lives in Washington, DC. While serving in the US Navy aboard the USS Trippe, he circumnavigated the globe, and later worked as a magazine editor and corporate communications manager, with assignments that took him to England, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil. Now he's sharing his experiences and love of archaeology, astronomy, and music with young readers. His first novel, Five Hieroglyphs, had him return to the sea in this compelling tale of discovery, intrigue, and the power of ancestral connections.


Especially and unreservedly recommended for middle school, high school, and community library YA Fantasy Fiction collections for young readers ages 14-18, "Five Hieroglyphs" is a vivid and deftly crafted action/adventure novel . . . All the more impressive when considering that this is author Stephen T. Person's debut as a novelist, and of special note is that "Five Hieroglyphs" is illustrated with 26 original woodcut-style drawings.  —Midwest Book Review

“Ancient intrigue, archaeology, and mysticism make this a compelling mystery-adventure . . . Person debuts with a captivating journey that melds ancient mysticism and modern adventure with a profound quest for self-discovery.” — BookLife 

“A dense, gripping mystery built on real-world history and enticing characters.” —Kirkus Reviews

“With thrilling, conclusive twists that entail kidnapping, a hunt, and restitution, Five Hieroglyphs is a satisfying mystery novel in which a sensitive teenager comes into his own during a fortuitous trip to Egypt.” — Foreword Clarion Reviews

"Sometimes a book comes along that speaks to things we might not be able to explain and gives us the space to figure out who we are. This book does just that. In Stephen T. Person's beautifully written debut novel, readers will be transported to a long-lost world through engaging myths and art, all while learning alongside authentic characters with whom I did not want my time to end. Be sure to check out this unique new voice in young adult literature." —Amy Townsley, school librarian, Upton, MA

"Five Hieroglyphs will make a reader and a history buff out of even the most reluctant young readers. Stephen T. Person keeps you eagerly turning the page to follow Dante on his coming-of-age journey as he voyages toward a clearer understanding of the ancient world, and more importantly of his own mysterious mind. What's more, this book is a teacher's dream. Replete with contextualized lessons on the peoples and cultures of the ancient world, Five Hieroglyphs also presents ample opportunities for discussing narrative structures and literary techniques . . . and all of this in a style that balances accessibility and challenge for young readers. This book would be a delightful addition to any seventh, eighth, or ninth grade humanities program." —Jason Cummings, PhD, director of student programs, Global Online Academy

"In this coming-of-age novel, a struggling teen's newfound purpose and powers of perception help turn an ill-fated cruise into a journey of discovery and healing. Stephen T. Person draws readers in from the start with his intricately woven present-day mystery about classic antiquity." —Sarah Marsden, reading specialist, West Middle School, Andover, MA

"A dazzling, erudite tale of archaeological intrigue and self-discovery." —Fredric P. Williams, retired director of exhibits, Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service

"Five Hieroglyphs is a brilliant, fantastical story that will make students and teachers alike tear through its pages to learn more about the ancient wonders of the world and Dante's journey." —Shelley Porter, school librarian, Andover, MA