Quest for the King’s Crown (Last Chance Detectives)

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Book Review

After they find the skeleton of a conquistador, young detectives Mike, Winnie, Ben and Spence start pulling together clues that point to a famous lost treasure. But they’re not the only ones in the hunt.

Plot Summary

It was a hot, lazy day in Ambrosia, Arizona. Just the kind of day that a good mystery might perk up. But Mike Fowler, Winnie Whitefeather, Ben Jones and Spence Martin—otherwise known as The Last Chance Detectives—were fresh out of cases.

And for that matter, they weren’t all that fresh either. All they could do was sit in their clubhouse and sweat.

Now, it’s a rather cool clubhouse—an actual B-17 bomber that Mike’s grandad, Pop Fowler, had rebuilt behind the Last Chance Gas and Diner—but not cool enough to keep them from sweating.

So, the 12-year-old friends decided they ought to just take the day off from mystery solving. And after a bit of rambling about, the quartet ended up at a small, little-known river that Winnie’s native-American family members had told her about. The water was cool and clear and just about perfect.

Except for the skeleton, that is.

At first Ben thought a snake was tickling his leg in the water. But then he discovered that it was an old rope. And when he gave the rope a good tug, a skeleton—dressed in full, ancient conquistador armor—popped out from behind a small waterfall and screamed!

Well, it was actually Ben who screamed, but he was pretty convinced that the skeleton did, too.

After the young detectives took stock, they immediately contacted Smitty, the sheriff. And sure enough, he determined (with the help of Doc Benson) that they had indeed found an amazingly well-preserved skeleton of an actual conquistador.

But that’s not all they had found. There were other small clues in the mix—an engraved and calcified key, and a tattered parchment—that suggested that this skeleton was a part of an ancient mystery.

And who better to solve an ancient mystery than some decidedly not ancient detectives.

The Last Chance detectives, that is.

Christian Beliefs

It’s pretty clear from Mike’s actions that Mike is a Christian. (As is his grandfather and likely the other three friends as well.) Mike prays in times of confusion and peril. And he pulls out his pocket Bible to find a specific Scripture passage that proves to be linked to the mystery at hand.

[Spoiler Warning] We also find that bishops from the Middle Ages—who fled Spain under religious persecution—are a part of a twisting mystery, too, involving fabled cities of gold. Mike determines that Matthew 17:27 is an important verse. And part of the discovered treasure is a Christian artifact of great value. The story of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday is recited and talked about.

Other Belief Systems

It’s mentioned that Muslim Moors were persecuting a group of Christians.

Authority Roles

Pop and Grandma Fowler are raising Mike, since his parents are dead. And though we don’t see them a lot, they’re both loving and capable parental figures who help, and protect, Mike and his friends.

Sheriff Smitty is a good man, too. We hear that he had a troubled past, but he bravely steps forward to do what’s right, and he trusts and supports the kids.

Some in the small town of Ambrosia are less trustful. One individual is a weak-willed gossip, for instance.

The four friends each have their strengths and distinct roles in each other’s lives. Mike is something of a fearless leader. Winnie has naturally wise insights and knowledge of the surrounding desert. Ben is the group’s imaginative problem solver. And Spence is a technical genius and all-around knowledgeable guy.

Profanity & Violence

No language or alcohol use. But there are moments of violence and peril to navigate. We follow, in flashback, a conquistador who is attacked and shot in the armpit with an arrow. Wounded, he finds a place to hide from his pursuers before succumbing to his wounds. People find the remains of other desiccated corpses, apparently folks who starved to death hundreds of years ago.

Several people encounter well-devised ancient traps and mechanisms. Stony areas are blown up with dynamite (as is a coroner’s office.) And an underground structure collapses, trapping someone beneath a huge slab of stone.

A large, potentially threatening man is tormented, hit in the face with a fire extinguisher and a heavy object, given an electrical shock, doused with hot coffee and squirted with a dose of ghost pepper salsa.

A chase scene involves explosives and fire and a 200-foot fall into a canyon. (The falling individual apparently survives.) A young kid is bound tightly and left in a potentially deadly situation.

Sexual Content

None

Discussion Topics

Have you ever been in a perilous or potentially dangerous situation? Did you pray like Mike did? Do you think there is an advantage to prayer when you’re in trouble or confused? What does God say we can ask Him for, and He’ll always give it?

Check out James 1:5 if you’re not sure.

Are there other promises God gives us, or requests that He makes of us, that stand out to you? Are you willing to step up and help friends when you see someone in need? What is bravery? Take a look at Isaiah 41:10 for an example of God’s perspective.

What was your favorite part of this adventure? What was the biggest surprise?

Get free discussion question for books at focusonthefamily.com/magazine/thriving-family-book-discussion-questions.

Additional Comments

Quest For the King’s Crown is a relatively short adventure book for younger readers that’s filled with imagination, mystery, and elements of faith: a fun and easy read.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not necessarily their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.