The book The Golden Goblet, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, is a good book set in Egypt with characters like: Rekh, Ranofer, Heqet, Wenamon, Gebu, and many others. When Ranofer’s father dies, Gebu his half brother takes Ranofer into his home “out of the goodness of his heart.” Ranofer is put to work at the goldsmith shop and later as a stonemason, where he discovers and thwarts a plot to raid a pharoah’s tomb. I believe that the author’s message was that if you put your head to it and stick with it that you can achieve great feats.
Ranofer was learning to be a goldsmith with his father when his father died. Hi half-brother Gebu puts him to work at another goldsmith shop owned by Rekh, but as a helper, not as apprentice because Gebu wants him only to earn money which goes straight to Gebu, but being apprenticed costs money. Later Ranofer realizes there is another reason Gebu wants him working as an errand boy at the goldsmither’s shop, when gold starts to go missing from the shop. Ranofer overheard someone talking about how small pieces could be easily hidden in one’s mouth or bread loaf or even in a wineskin. Ranofer remembers that every few nights, Gebu makes him pick up a wineskin from a Ibni, who washes the gold at the goldsmith shop. Ranofer realizes Ibni would easily be able to slip gold into a wineskin, and he suspects that Ibni is passing gold to Gebu this way. Ranofer comes up with a plan and proves Ibni guilty.
After Ibni is fired from the goldsmith’s shop, Gebu has no use for Ranofer there any more. He puts Ranofer into his own stone-cutting shop and apprentices him there. Ranofer hates stonecutting, especially when he realizes how dangerous it is. He worries about his hands and losing fingers, and whether it will ruin his ability to work gold, which he loves.
Later Ranofer notices Gebu’s clothes getting steadily finer and of richer materials. Ranofer guesses that either the pharaoh was paying Gebu highly for something, or Gebu was stealing again. Heqet, an apprentice from Rekh’s goldsmith shop, brings interesting news that he overheard: Gebu and his friend Wenamon talking about a secret meeting during the upcoming festival. When Ranofer follows them, he finds that they are tomb robbers. They have dug out a cavern and are now tunneling into the tomb of the queen’s parents. He runs back to the city and finds his way into the palace and tells the queen. Afterward, Gebu and Wenamon are arrested, and Ranofer is finally free to do as he pleases.
I believe that the author’s message was that you can achieve a lot if you put your head to it. I found this story quite a good book and would suggest it to others because it’s well written and has a good plot. The plot plays out in an interesting way.