Horace: Secret of Scarab Beetle

Cover: Horace: Secret of Scarab Beetle

Eleven-year-old Horace j. Edwards is an ordinary boy whose family has just moved to Niles, Michigan. But on the first day of sixth grade, mysterious things start to happen. His grandfather dies and Horace receives a strange gift--a stone scarab beetle. As he works to uncover the secrets surrounding his grandfather's death and the beetle, Horace is transported back in time to the ancient Egyptian city of Amarna. He meets the future pharaoh, young King Tut, and together the two boys become engaged in a fight to save the city from total destruction and Egypt itself from Tut's evil uncle Smenk. In the process, Horace discovers that he is the heir to an order of guardians, known as the Keepers of Time. The Secret of the Scarab Beetle is the first book in the middle-grade fantasy series Horace j. Edwards and the Time Keepers.



  • Dewey: [Fic]
  • Hardcover (9781585369386): 230 pages, 5.5 (w) x 8.5 (h), © 2016, 04/01/2016
  • Paperback (9781585369393): 230 pages, 5.5 (w) x 8.5 (h), © 2016, 09/01/2016
  • PDF (9781634707954): 230 pages, 5.5 (w) x 8.5 (h), © 2016, 04/01/2016
  • Hosted ebook (9781634708074): 230 pages, 5.5 (w) x 8.5 (h), © 2016, 04/01/2016
  • Subject: Language Arts
  • Series: Horace j. Edwards and the Time Keepers


  • Suggested Interest Level: Age 9 - Age 11
  • Suggested Reading Level: Grade 5
  • Lexile® Measure: 690
  • Guided Reading Level: U
  • ATOS Reading Level: 4.7
  • Accelerated Reader® Quiz: 186272
  • Accelerated Reader® Points: 6.0

BISAC Subjects


Booklist - The Secret of the Scarab Beetle

Horace is preoccupied with making the best of sixth grade and avoiding the class bully when word comes that his beloved grandfather has died under mysterious circumstances. When Horace’s family goes to his grandparents’ farm to sort through things and care for his semi-lucid grandmother, Horace receives a scarab-beetle talisman left to him by his grandfather and a confusing message about his being a Time Keeper. Through a series of events, Horace uses the talisman to open a secret doorway that leads to ancient Egypt. Here he befriends a young boy named Tut, who needs his help, but Horace is unprepared for the challenges posed by ancient Egyptian politics. Combining time travel, mystery, and history, this first in a proposed series takes readers on an exciting romp through ancient temples and Egyptian schools. The settings are well rendered, and themes of friendship, memory, and family explored. This novel will be a solid historical-fiction choice for reluctant readers.

School Library Journal - The Secret of the Scarab Beetle

When mild-mannered sixth grader Horace J. Edwards moves to the sleepy town of Niles, MI, his life takes an unexpected turn. A death occurs in the family, and mysterious things start to happen. Grandmother, who suffers from dementia, begs Horace to find the key, open the secret door, and help the boy, but Horace doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Then, a gift of a scarab beetle proves to be more than a trinket. Horace finds himself transported back to ancient Egypt, where he discovers the future King Tut in trouble. The story line does a nice job of introducing fascinating Egyptian tidbits with a modern twist. Readers interested in ancient Egypt and adventure will enjoy the juxtaposition between current life and ancient times. The mystery is not a complex maze of clues but a fun coming-of-age adventure. VERDICT An additional purchase where time travel titles and books set in the ancient world are in demand.


Author: William Meyer

William (Bill) Meyer is an author, teacher, and student of history. He was born in Detroit, Michigan, and currently lives in Mamaroneck, New York, where he is finishing his PhD at New York University and teaching his high-school students about the mysteries of Ancient Egypt.

He says, “I’ve worked in urban districts from Detroit to New York City, but also in suburban schools like Scarsdale and Bronxville. However, regardless of the place or the students no topic has piqued the imagination of my classes as intensely as the study of Ancient Egypt.” As a result of both their interest and his own childhood curiosity about the mysteries of that era, he wrote the Horace j. Edwards and the Time Keepers series.

For Bill, whether it is teaching in the classroom or presenting to a larger audience, the past is more than just a group of facts to be memorized and timelines to be shared; it’s a window into a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world we live in.