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Rise of the Golden Cobra

Golden Cobra Cover

YOUNG ADULT FICTON (for ages 12-15)

Rise of the Golden Cobra (2007) dramatizes a true event of 728 BCE: the conquest of Egypt by the Kushites (or Nubians). The story’s main character is a teenage Egyptian boy, Nebi, who warns the Kushite king, Piankhy, of a plot by the Assyrian Empire to invade Egypt and Kush. Nebi joins the king’s army as it strives to take over Egypt so as to better defend it. (A sequel is in the works.)

  • Africana Book Awards Honor Book (sponsored by the African Studies Association, U.S.)
  • Silver Nautilus Book Award (U.S.)
  • Skipping Stones Honor Book for Older Readers (U.S.)
  • “The Year’s Best” List, Resource Links magazine for teachers (Canada)
  • Young Adult Fiction Top 10 List 2008, Ontario Library Association
  • Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre
  • Finalist:  Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People (sponsored by TD Bank and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre).
  • Finalist:  Red Maple Award finalist (Ontario Library Association)

Brenda Randoph, founder and director of Africa Access Review, has kindly permitted me to feature here her excellent lesson plan for teachers.

Ronald Leprohon, professor of Egyptology at the University of Toronto, saluted the novel for being “historically accurate.” His full review here.

Media Reviews of Rise of the Golden Cobra

“Aubin keeps the pages turning… This is a well-crafted and intriguing adventure that exposes students to a different world, even as it offers them anger, excitement, and the opportunity to ponder serious moral issues.” – School Library Journal (U.S.)

“Aubin’s enthusiasm for a little-known campaign in ancient Africa shines through in this epic story, which depicts with respectful admiration not just the genius tactics of King Piankhy but also his devotion to maat, an ancient code of fairness and righteousness that helps give his kingdom solidarity. What gives the novel its pull as an adventure story is Nebi himself — a brave, earnest hero who has to struggle with his personal hatreds and humble status before he triumphs.” – Toronto Star

“A fine yarn — a good old-fashioned page-turner with a solid historical grounding… Lots of heart-in-your-throat descriptions of battles.” – Montreal Gazette

“Fast-paced and exciting” – Calliope history magazine (U.S.)

“Excellent, enduring, everyone should read it! A great piece of historical fiction….A valuable addition to a school or public library. It will appeal to readers interested in adventure, as well as history. With its attention to historical detail, the title will be useful in studies of ancient Egypt and the pharaohs. Rise of the Golden Cobra takes young readers on a memorable journey through one of the greatest periods in ancient history.” – Resource Links magazine for teachers (Canada)

“Bursting with action, political intrigue and military strategy in enticing historical detail… This is an epic adventure for young adult readers.” – CanLit for Teens

“Writing historical fiction is always a juggling act between the familiar and the exotic. We need to feel at home, to recognize familiar feelings and dilemmas, but we also need to feel like a traveller, marvelling at the unfamiliar, intrigued and stretched by situations and ideas not our own. Aubin maintains this tension with nary a fumble… .Aubin excels at his portrayal of two elements of war –­ espionage and ingenuity. He creates a tense climate of secrets, codes, spies, double-crossing…. With the Kushites, Aubin has obviously found uncharted territory for his considerable skills as a storyteller.” – Quill & Quire (Canada)

“It is rare to find an effective historical novel for young readers about this time and place, and Henry Aubin has given us a strongly told novel, full of atmosphere and drama, one to grip the imagination.” – Deakin Newsletter of Children’s Literature (British Columbia)

“An awesome blend of fact and fiction filled with action.” – The Canadian Children’s Book Centre

“A page-turner that boys in particular will love… Packed with adventure, action and timeless truths.” – Montreal Review of Books

“Abounds with intrigue, military maneuvers and secret codes. Events are fast-paced and full of twists and double crosses.” – Professionally Speaking, The Magazine of the Ontario College of Teachers

“Recommended.” – Teaching Tolerance Magazine (U.S.)

“Compelling… A fast-moving and intriguing plot of military genius on King Piankhy’s part… It is a journey into manhood as Nebi learns the truth of the king’s wisdom that, to find real freedom, you can’t keep hatred in your heart… Worthy of study in our middle year classrooms.” – CM Magazine (Manitoba)

“A great book… Very exciting cover to cover, and the war scenes were incredible, filled with action…. Five stars!” – Keegan, age 13, KidsWWrite