As a kid, did you collect things?  Rocks, marbles, or feathers?  Maybe, with encouragement from your parents or grandparents, you moved on to dolls, stamps or coins?  Imagine a thirteen year old boy with a penchant for antiquities and a grandfather who knows where to find them. That boy is Maxwell Mead, protagonist of my first upper middle grade novel The Novice Collector: Cosmic Strings and Ancient Things.

As the second anniversary of Granddad’s disappearance approaches, Max discovers he can travel back in time.  Objects in his collection provide a portal to the past.  With their help he witnesses life along the banks of the Nile thousands of years ago, explores chambers of King Tutankhamen’s tomb, and cowers at the sounds and smells of the Western Desert battlefields of WWII.  Their stories offer an escape from his struggle to accept that Granddad may never come back.  Eventually they reveal information about people he loves, altering his thoughts and guiding his actions.

Tensions between events in Max’s real world and those from his historical journeys begin to rise.   While he learns how to control his gift, Max uncovers a secret cache of ancient artifacts and clashes with a sophisticated and merciless antiquities trafficking gang linked to Granddad’s disappearance.