Book 5 returns to rich descriptions
of people and places that are so intriguing we cannot
resist investigating them!
Sites to get you started learning
about Russian history include
Alexander Palace and
US News' "History's Mysteries."
Informacy and planning skills:
Amy and Dan are successful due in great part to their
pre-planning and researching of important facts, floor
plans, maps and other information they need to
expediently hunt for clues. This puts them at a more
equal level with their competitors, who are adults and
often know the territory.
Consider having your student pre-plan
as they read along in the book: what information and
supplies do they need once they arrive in Volgograd from
Cairo? To find the Shuvalov palace? To find Alexei’s
Amy and Dan also successfully collaborate with the
Holts, benefiting both families to the detriment of
their enemies in the Lucian branch. What are some of Amy
and Dan’s behaviours and choices that resulted in this
success? What would have happened if Amy and Dan acted
Important places and things:
P. 22 provides a list of Russian cities that Amy, Dan
and the Holts visit to collect clues leading to THE
clue. You can investigate this too! To start with, did
Volgograd really have multiple names? Why? What can you
find about the other cities?
The Motherland Calls monument: Did a million people
really die there?
What about the royal village, Tsarkoye Selo (p. 84), the
Tsars village where Romanovs supposedly holidayed.
Catherine’s Palace, Alexei’s Palace, and much more to
investigate in these historical landmarks!
Follow Amy and Dan’s path. Use a large map or draw your
own. Start in Egypt and land in Volgograd, Russia. Keep
a running list of landmarks and add these to your map as
you read. For example, find the Moika river in St.
Petersburg, its Nevsky Prospekt freeway and St. Peter
and St. Paul. In the meantime, find the Holts in Omsk,
Siberia (trans-Siberian railway), Then there is the
“road of bones” and Magadan, Siberia (p. 101) for the
Hamiltons, while Amy/Dan are back to the royal village
and Catherine Palace. And when our heroes are left to
decide where to train next, find the train path from St.
Petersburg to Moscow and to Yekaterinburg (don’t forget
The Church on the Blood where the Romanovs were
executed). While in Moscow, the Kremlin, State Kremlin
Palace can be located too.
Lots of historical figures to learn about! To start
with, Lennon, Stalin, the royal Romanov family with
famed Anastasia, and Rasputin.
As for Rasputin, Prince Felix
Yusupov tried to poison Rasputin then shot him in
the back but he didn’t die until he was tied up and
dropped into ice hole in river. Or so says Amy in
our story. Did Rasputin really have supernatural
healing powers? And did he somehow assist Anastasia
in escaping execution? Solve the mystery!
The book says Anastasia was
raised like a normal child and was naughty and fun
(p.85). There is a tale that her body was missing
six years after execution. Is this myth or mystery?
Check it out!
Before the royal Yusupov’s owned
the palace, Amy says it was owned by Count Pyotr
Shuvalov. (In St. Petersburg). Is that true? What
happened to them?
Russian authors have added much
to classical literature. One is mentioned in this
book, Dostoevsky’s classic novel Crime and
Punishment p. 67. Who was this author?
You can probably come up with more ideas for science and
technology, but to get started...
In old mysteries, we had “bugs”
which were receivers that permitted listening in on
conversations. More recently, tracking devices were
invented and made their way into fiction. Now we
have GPS trackers. The Lucians certainly are experts
in tracking their prey! Consider a science
experiment making a “bug” or gps tracker.
The remote control Shark is
pivotal in this story. What remote control devices
are really in use today? How do they work?
And that super vehicle, the Kamaz,
find pictures of it in action! What are its features
and capabilities? What makes it so tough?