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Book 1 named one of the Best Children’s Books of the Year by the L.A. Public Library

Like a preteen Indiana Jones and Lara Croft, Alex and Ren make a compelling duo… excellent companions for this fast-paced and scorpion-filled ride.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A thrilling adventure rich in Egyptian mythology and magic… Sure to be a blockbuster.”—Booklist

“Pure adventure from start to finish.”—School Library Connection

Nonstop action, great horror descriptions, and good camaraderie provide a perfect background for the adventures of this dynamic duo.”—VOYA Magazine

TombQuest is a new five-book, multi-platform series from Scholastic—and I wrote all five! Multi-platform means there is an awesome online game to go with the books, where readers can build and explore Egyptian tombs filled with glittering treasures and treacherous traps. There are also moderated online forums and just general awesomeness. Book 1: Book of the Dead hit the New York Times bestseller list as soon as it was released and was named one of the best children’s books of the year by the Los Angeles Public Library. The adventure continues with Book 2: Amulet Keepers, Book 3: Valley of Kings, and Book 4: The Stone Warriors, and wraps up with an epic final showdown in Book 5: The Final Kingdom! (Scholastic has an excellent roundup of all five books here.)

And here’s a look at the amazing cover of Book 1. That’s the main character, Alex Sennefer (and his magical scarab amulet), running into the museum to regulate.


This was a different sort of project for me: my first series, and a return to the sort of magical, mysterious stories that drew my reluctant, dyslexic, unfortunately dressed, and badly haircut kid-self to reading in the first place.

Some kids were slick. I was slicker.

Here is the official, publisher-approved description:

From the team that brought you The 39 Clues and Spirit Animals comes a brand new epic Egyptian adventure!

Nothing can save Alex Sennefer’s life. That’s what all the doctors say, but his mother knows it’s not true. She knows that the Lost Spells of the Egyptian Book of the Dead can crack open a door to the afterlife and pull her son back from the brink. But when she uses the spells, five evil ancients—the Death Walkers—are also brought back to life.

An ancient evil has been unleashed. Mummies are awakening. New York is overrun with scorpions. And worst of all for Alex, his mom and the Lost Spells have both disappeared. He and his best friend, Ren, will do anything to find his mom and save the world . . . even if that means going head-to-head with a Death Walker who has been plotting his revenge for 3,000 years.

Read the book, then continue the adventure online! Build an Egyptian tomb of your own, hide treasure and protect it with traps, then challenge your friends to play through!

I traveled around the world to research this series, and I am excited that the world seems to want in on the undead action. Foreign rights have already sold in Germany, France, Spain, Catalonia, Turkey, and Iran(!). Here is an up-close look at the bloody brilliant UK cover of Book 2. I get the impression they are excited about the game…

Tombquest 2 v2

Anyway, that’s the list so far. I will update this page as more countries join the Quest!


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  1. ivelisse Diaz / Feb 28 2015

    I have never written to any author, but I read Book of the Dead and could not put it down! I am 55 years old so this book is not just for kids ! I hope it becomes a movie. and I cannot wait to read the second book to see what the kids do in London. Please keep writing this as an unending series. You have enough material for 10 books. Also please make the books longer. I was able to read Book of the Dead in three sessions. I just finished reading it for the 2nd time. Make more and make them longer.

  2. Michael / Mar 1 2015

    Thanks, Ivelisse! I am really glad you enjoyed the book so much! Right now, the series is scheduled for five books. Hopefully, I can pack 10 books’ worth into those five! (Then again, series have been known to grow over time…) I hope you enjoy Book 2, in any case. I had a blast writing it. I even went on a research trip to London, full of wind, rain, museums, and mossy old cemeteries!

  3. Sharon Lacy / Mar 5 2015

    Hi, can you tell me what age group this book is aimed at?

  4. Michael / Mar 5 2015

    TombQuest is basically for ages 8–12/grades 3–6. Every reader is different, of course, but that’s the general idea.

  5. Ivelisse diaz / Apr 10 2015

    Getting ready for book two. Any book tour dates in NY for Amulet Keepers? I didn’t make any for the first book.

    Thank you.

  6. Michael / Apr 10 2015

    Hi Ivelisse! I am very excited about Book 2, too! I really hope you enjoy it. And yes, I will be at Books of Wonder in NYC on May 2 and at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck on May 4! There may be more dates coming. I will post the details soon!

  7. Adrianna Giese / Jun 9 2015

    I wish you could come to Nebraska for your tour. No one ever really comes here and I wish we had writer’s come here more often. Any tips on outlining I’m trying to outline the book I want to write but having some trouble. thanks.

  8. Michael / Jun 9 2015

    Hi Adrianna! Thanks for writing. Hopefully my publisher will send me to Nebraska sometime. I know I have more touring coming up for Books 3, 4, and 5, so it’s possible! Outlining is tricky. For me, it involves two things: visualizing the key scenes in the book (sometimes I even include a line of dialogue or a bit of visual description) and working out the most important steps that connect them. It’s that second one that causes me the most trouble, but I try to be logical about it. I ask myself questions like, How would these characters react to the previous scene? And how would that lead them to the next one?

  9. Max Wallace / Sep 16 2015

    Great job, Michael! I’m 11 and reading your first two books from New Zealand. I can’t wait until the third book come out, but meanwhile, keep up the good work!

  10. Michael / Sep 16 2015

    Thanks, Max! That’s awesome! I’m really glad you are enjoying the series so far. New Zealand is a long way from NYC, but it’s at the top of my wish-list for places I’d like to visit some day.

  11. Evan / Oct 13 2015

    Hi, Michael! I’m 8 years old and I’ve just finished book one of the Tombquest series. This is an awesome series! I liked it so much I chose it to do my book report on it. I can’t wait to read the second one.

  12. Michael / Oct 14 2015

    Thanks, Evan! That’s very cool! I am really glad you enjoyed Book 1 so much, and I appreciate you writing to let me know. I hope you enjoy Book 2, too. Good luck on the report!

  13. varun123 / Dec 28 2015

    I have a doubt:
    When I was reading the Tombquest Book 3, in the end Luke was released from the lioness right? After he ran a little, he collapsed. So, did he just faint or he died of thirst.

  14. Michael / Dec 28 2015

    Hi Varun! Thanks for writing. She didn’t release him; she just gave him a little head start. [Spoiler Alert: Anyone who has not finished Book 3 should stop reading this comment NOW!] I think you were reading so fast that you might have missed a line. Near the bottom of the page it says: “The energy dagger sank into his back with a dull crackling thud”! Basically, she let him try to escape and then cut him down 😮

  15. Oliver / Jan 9 2016

    I just got finished with tombquest 2.I really like it. How did you write Tombquest? I have 1 2 and 3 of Tombquest I hope you make a 6th book!

  16. Michael / Jan 10 2016

    Thanks, Oliver! I am really glad you are enjoying the series. Writing TombQuest required a lot more research than my other books. For Book 2, I actually went to London. I walked around the British Museum and trudged up the soggy hillside of Highgate Cemetery to make sure I got the details right—and then I thew in a few buckets full of magic and mummies and bad guys!

  17. ivelisse diaz / Jan 12 2016

    Getting ready to read 3 and 4 !!!! That way I can just get my fill. If I could contain myself I would wait for #5 and just read all three non-stop, but can’t wait! Any book signing dates? I have missed all signing dates and would like to get book(s) autographed.

  18. Michael / Jan 12 2016

    Hi Ivelisse! That is awesome! I hope you enjoy them both—and March 29th will be here faster than you can say, “Look out for that Death Walker!” I know I’m touring for Books 4 and 5 this winter/spring, but I don’t know the details yet. 😮 I will post them as soon as I find out!

  19. Alexander from JAMM / Mar 3 2016

    These are the translations for the Hieroglyphs on the covers of the TOMBQUEST books: [You got ’em, Alexander! You are awesome at this. But I had to cover up some of the answers so that other readers can solve them too!—MN]

    Book of The Dead: **** Reigns in ******.
    Amulet Keepers: Open the False *****.
    Valley of Kings: ****** in Stone.
    The Stone Warriors: Down Into the ****.
    The Final Kingdom: Light as a *******.

    Also the books are beyond Awesome :D.

  20. Michael / Mar 4 2016

    Thanks, Alexander (the Great)! I am really happy that you’re enjoying the books so much. Sorry I had to cover up some of the words in your answers. I just wanted to make sure that if anyone read your comment before they tried to crack the codes themselves they still had something left to solve!

  21. Robbg Blamberg / Mar 10 2016

    Where can I get you to sign my book I’m in Salisbury nc

  22. Robbg Blamberg / Mar 10 2016

    I love these books I love anything to do with Egypt or Egyptology I hope it Doesn’t end at just 5 books

  23. Michael / Mar 12 2016

    Thanks! I am glad you are enjoying TombQuest! I love Egyptology too, and it was a lot of fun to be able to really bury myself (so to speak) in the research for these books.

  24. Michael / Mar 12 2016

    I will be touring for Book 5, but I don’t know all the locations yet. Hopefully I will get down to that area soon. I am actually from another Salisbury: Salisbury, Connecticut!

  25. ivelisse diaz / Mar 14 2016

    ok please let those of us who are not well versed at finding your book signing dates know where to go for the info. I always find the answer after the fact.

    Point us in the right direction or post the dates here when you have them. I would like to take my nephews.

  26. Michael / Mar 14 2016

    Hi Ivelisse. OK, it’s a deal! I will post the dates as soon as I find out myself. (Scholastic schedules my tours. They do a great job, but sometimes I don’t know where I’m heading until I’m practically on my way!)

    I am hoping to find out a little earlier this time (I just sent them an email) so that I can post all the info sooner. Stay tuned!

  27. ivelisse diaz / Mar 14 2016

    Sounds good to me. I sound nerdy but my favorite parts of Book One are when the mom walks into the hospital room, and hears the reporter mentioning the supernatural disturbances happening. My second absolute favorite is when the kids hear the crunching sound and it is the sound of the little mummy girl is shifting in her grave, but the number one moment is when they hear the grinding sound of rock against rock and they cannot place the location of where the sound is coming from, then they realize (not to give anything away) what the sound is, and what is emerging shortly after they see the hand. It brings me back to when I used to watch “Chiller” on Channel 11 with the hand that had 6 fingers, and Creature Feature on Channel 5 as a kid. Ahhhhh simpler days !!!!!

  28. Michael / Mar 17 2016

    Thanks, Ivelisse! Those were some of my favorite scenes to write—especially that “Chiller” you mentioned at the end. I definitely drew on the horror movies I watched as a kid (what a great time to watch scary movies!) when I was trying to set the mood and describe the scene (and the sound)!

  29. Michael / Mar 28 2016

    Hello, TombQuesters! I just got a look at my first public book-signing dates for the spring tour. Here they are:

    * Thursday, April 7 at 6:30 pm at Books & Company (Oconomowoc, WI)
    * Monday, April 11 at 4:00 pm at Magic Tree Books (Oak Park, IL)
    * Friday, April 15 at 6:30 pm at Hooray for Books! (Alexandria, VA)

    Hopefully there will be more soon, including a possible June date in NYC!

  30. Raissa / Apr 4 2016

    Please work on making these books into a movie…PLEASE!
    I am a mom of 3 kids and there school was doing their book fair, which is where I found out about this book. My oldest son read the first book and took a test on it. Then I got curious about it and just finished book 1-5 within 3 days could not put it down.
    I don’t care who you have to work with to get it done, but I promise to be there opening night! My mother before her untimely death was very much into Egypt and all the treasures within….she was very kind to pass down that love to me! I am in return doing the same. You have made it even more possible with your books!
    Thank you for your passion and love for writing in making the love for reading and the pages come alive right here in our home!

  31. Alexander from JAMM / Apr 4 2016

    Did you know: Ancient Egyptians worshiped over 1,400 different gods and goddesses.

  32. Alexander from JAMM / Apr 4 2016

    Ancient Egyptians made: toothpaste, toilets, paper, worlds first dresses, pillows, sail boats, alcohol, books (the book of the dead), jewelery, and much more.

  33. Michael / Apr 7 2016

    Thanks, Raissa! I am glad you enjoyed the books, and I think it is awesome that a love of ancient Egypt runs in your family! I would definitely love to see TombQuest on the big screen. Hopefully the books will catch the eye of the right people in Hollywood. I am doing everything I can to promote them, and I know there are smart, talented people talking the series up in tinseltown. Beyond that, all I can do is cross my fingers!

  34. Michael / Apr 7 2016

    Hey, Alexander the Great! Thanks for the awesome facts about ancient Egypt! I am glad you are really getting into it—there is so much amazing stuff to discover, and you are starting to sound like an expert Egyptologist. As you know, I’ve always been fascinated by ancient Egypt, and it has been so cool (and fun) to be able to spend time learning even more about it for this series.

  35. Maxim / Apr 15 2016

    Can you. tell me what disease Alex Sennefer has.

  36. Michael / Apr 18 2016

    Hi Maxim. Thanks for writing! Unfortunately, I can’t post the answer to that here, because the cause and nature of Alex’s mysterious illness are revealed later on in the series!

  37. ivelisse diaz / Apr 18 2016

    Ok I see the posting for the book signings above. I will keep an eye out for anything in June in New York. Ouch – I sure hope it is not the weekend of June 24-25-26 because that is the Dark Shadows Festival Weekend in Tarrytown.

    Will keep an eye open for any future dates.

    Thank you,

  38. Reagan Templeton / Apr 22 2016

    Oh hey! I love your Tombquest books and I really love the characters’ confidence. But I am working on memorizing the song Rather Be and it actually kind of reminds me of the Tombquest series. But I’m wondering, if you made all of the tombquest books into a movie, what do you thing they would be rated, pg 13, pg, or g?

  39. Michael / Apr 25 2016

    Thanks, Reagan! I am really glad you’re enjoying TombQuest. I will have to check that song out! That’s a very interesting question. Hmmm, I think a TQ movie would probably be PG, because it would be a little scary but definitely still OK for younger kids.

  40. Kevin Roe / May 13 2016

    Hey Michael, I’m a librarian and we put our fiction titles in genre categories for our school libraries. Do you consider your books more Fantasy or Adventure? We like to keep them together on our shelves (obviously), and the books have elements of both genres. What’s your preference as the author? Thanks so much!

  41. Michael / May 15 2016

    Hi Kevin, This is a very interesting question! After due deliberation, I’d definitely say Adventure. In fact, I chose Quest as part of the title so that readers would know right away that it would be a big, far-flung adventure. There are definitely elements of fantasy, but I also tried to keep it rooted in the real world/real cities (or at least real mythology!). Anyway, that would be my preference. Thanks for checking in!

  42. Sara / Jul 10 2016

    Hi, I love your your books but I want a movie with it. The movie would be rated pg or pg.13

  43. Sara / Jul 10 2016

    Hi, I just finish book 1. You are a really good writer. Can’t wait until I can read the 2nd book. P.s. How is the movie coming?

  44. Michael / Jul 11 2016

    Thanks, Sara! I’m glad you enjoyed Book 1! I hope you like the rest of the series too. It was definitely a lot of fun to write.

    It would be amazing if TombQuest became a movie (or five!), and I think you’re right: PG-13 sounds like a good fit. (There would be some pretty scary scenes!) I don’t have any news yet, but I know the books are making the rounds in Hollywood, so hopefully something good will happen soon!

  45. Ava s. / Aug 23 2016

    Can someone tell me some quotes from ren towards Alex please

  46. Benedict / Nov 23 2016

    Hello Michael,
    I’m a 12 years old boy from Germany. I have read your book Tombquest for a class test. I’m not a very good in reading but your book was FUN!!!!!!!!
    Maybe I will read the other four books as well. IT will take some time, but that doesn’t matter, I think.
    Thanks for writing this book.

  47. Michael / Nov 25 2016

    Vielen Dank, Benedict! I am very happy to hear that you enjoyed Book #1. If you decide to tackle the other books, I hope you enjoy the rest of the ‘Quest, too! I actually did some of my research for the series at the Neues Museum in Berlin and even wrote the beginning of Book #3 during another trip there.

  48. Frankie / Jan 1 2017

    Is TQ a mystery book?

  49. Michael / Jan 2 2017

    Hi Frankie. Thanks for writing—you’re my first comment of 2017! TombQuest is a mystery series. There are smaller mysteries within each of the books, and larger mysteries that unfold over the course of the entire five-book series. Basically, there’s a whole lot of mystery going on!

  50. Gabi Keays / Feb 20 2017

    I am doing a book report on your novel Gentlemen, and i’m just wondering on what hooked you into writing books. Did someone inspire you? Was it just the joy of writing? I would love to know ASAP. Thank you! Btw, Gentlemen was a great book, I loved it.

  51. Michael / Feb 21 2017

    Hi Gabi! Thanks for writing! I am very happy top hear that you enjoyed Gentlemen. It was the first of my books to be published and writing it was a very intense, exciting experience.

    Getting hooked on writing books was a multistep process for me. I actually began by writing poetry. (I am dyslexic, so I am a slow and careful reader. That made poetry a good fit for me early on.) I wrote poems all through school. In college, I became interested in journalism and switched to writing short articles. After I’d been working full-time as a journalist for several years, I began writing short fiction on the weekends. My short stories got longer and longer until I was finally ready to write books.

    I definitely took the long way to becoming a novelist, but I learned a lot from every step of the journey. Poetry taught me about language and imagery and picking just the right word, and journalism taught me to express myself clearly and efficiently.

    I hope that helps! Good luck with your report!

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