Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 9 to 12
- Grade: 4 to 7
- Reading age: 9 to 12
Sam and Annabel are on vacation with Annabel's parents in Italy.
While visiting the small hilltop town of Civita, they hear rumors of looted gold from World War II buried somewhere in the town's network of underground tunnels and caves. Once again the two friends cross paths with their old nemesis, Humphrey Battleford, but he is not the only one in pursuit of the gold. An intimidating man named Kurt, the grandson of a ruthless Nazi, is also snooping around. After Annabel is kidnapped, Sam must solve the mystery of the hidden treasure to save his friend.
This is the fourth mystery featuring Sam and Annabel, after Stolen, Bones and Lost.
About the author
John Wilson was born in 1951 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He did his early growing up on the Island of Skye and in Paisley, near Glasgow. From 1969 to 1974, he attended the University of St. Andrews where he took an Honours B.Sc.. in Geology and never played golf once. He took a position with the Geological Survey of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). In his two years there, he mapped rocks, dodged land mines and watched the country sink ever deeper into civil war. Shortly before he was due to be called into the army, John retreated back to Britain on his way to the safety of Canada. He settled on Calgary where geology was booming and the only danger was freezing to death in January. In 1979, he moved to Edmonton to take up a post with the Alberta Geological Survey. In 1988 he sold a feature article to the Globe and Mail. This fueled a smouldering mid-life crisis and he took up freelance writing full-time. With some success, John mined the experiences of his travels for articles, journalism and photo essays. He even began to express himself poetically and, with a young family, began writing children's stories. He moved to Nanaimo and then Lantzville on Vancouver Island. John has been widely published by a number of Canadian presses, with his acolades including a shortlisting for the Governor General’s Award.
"Wilson's love of history shines in this high interest novel. Strong descriptions mingle with historical details making readers want to learn more about the places Annabelle and Sam visit…the characters are so likeable and believable the readers can't help be engrossed with the quirks of Sam, Pi loving Annabelle and her family, Humphry Battleford, the museum keeper Pietro and even Percy the dog."
"The vocabulary is very suitable for the intended audience. The dialogue is extensive and realistic. The story is told in first person from Sam's viewpoint. That the chapters end at a high point and often ask a question makes this an excellent read-aloud choice. Gold is a high interest novel for middle readers and would appeal to students who like adventure, mystery, travel and realistic fiction. Highly Recommended."