I find it so interesting to wonder why someone selects a book to read. Is it the cover? The description? Knowledge of the author? The title? What is the overwhelming reason a person chooses one book over another?
In the case of Kalen Cap's young adult novel, The Ancient Tripod of Peace: A Teen Thief-Catchers Novel, the title is what caught my attention. And I'm glad it did. I have never read anything like this novel.
The plot centers around three teens, Lexi, Trevor and Gil, who are drawn into a world of cyphers, ancient artifacts, secret societies, theft, and moral questions about the treatment of animals. As part of a school project, the trio is on a quest to find a connection between ancient Greece and Shakespeare, something they embrace with varying degrees of enthusiasm. I have to say that while reading this novel I had to look up a many of the author's references to ancient history, art and literature. This isn't necessarily bad—I'm all for acquiring new knowledge—but it distracted me from the flow of the book.
Many subplots round out this book and enrich the story. I was pleased to find that so much of the novel was based in fact, and that the philosophical sects—the mathematikoi and akousmatikoi—were real. The author cleverly resurrected them to form a parallel story line. I think readers of any age will enjoy the philosophical questions this book raises.
The characters, whose relationships to each other is skillfully revealed as the book goes on, did have their own distinct personalities, but I felt they could be more compelling.
The one thing that left me scratching my head was what the ancient tripod looked like. I just couldn't wrap my head around it. I had to look it up, and there were several descriptions of its function in ancient times, so that left me a little confused.
Nevertheless, I did enjoy the novel. It was very Dan Brown-esque and put me in mind of a YA version of The Da Vinci Code.