The Jaguar Trials

Do young people still know about El Dorado? I mean, not that there is anything to know, because El Dorado isn’t real. I think.

Ruth Eastham, The Jaguar Trials

Ruth Eastham’s latest book, The Jaguar Trials, is about Ben and his adventuring archeologist father, who are trying to find this golden dream. And when something goes wrong, Ben has to see if he can find El Dorado in order to save his dad.

With the help of Rafael and local Amazon girl Yara, Ben rides white water rapids and traipses through the hot and sweaty jungle, full of dangers. (And it’s not always the snakes that are the worst…)

There is a baddie. Naturally. There is a beautiful black jaguar. And there is a shaman, and plenty of things you can’t explain. Ben appears to be the chosen one, which is why he needs to pass the Jaguar Trials, in the hope of finding El Dorado.

I wasn’t sure how Ruth would deal with this. It’s a children’s adventure story, so by rights they need to find El Dorado. But it doesn’t exist, in the first place, and in the second place it wouldn’t do to find it anyway. But she uses her magic to make us believe. Well, not me, obviously, because El Dorado doesn’t ex…

Ben is a brave boy, and all three children are resourceful. And I’m glad I’m not the one in that jungle looking for a place that doesn’t exist.

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