Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos (Theodosia #1)

by R L Lafevers (Author) Yoko Tanaka (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade
Series: Theodosia
Theodosia Throckmorton has her hands full at the Museum of Legends and Antiquities in London. Her father may be head curator, but it is Theo—and only Theo—who is able to see all the magic and ancient curses that still cling to the artifacts in the museum.

In this first book in the popular series, Theo’s mother returns from her latest archaeological dig bearing the Heart of Egypt—a legendary amulet belonging to an ancient tomb. Theo learns that it comes inscribed with a curse so vile that it threatens to crumble the British Empire from within and start a war too terrible to imagine.

Intent on returning the malevolent artifact to its rightful place, Theo devises a daring plan to put things right. But even with the help of her younger brother, a wily street urchin, and the secret society known as the Brotherhood of the Chosen Keepers, it won’t be easy . . . she quickly finds herself pursued down dark alleys, across an ocean, through the bustling crowds of Cairo, and straight into the heart of an ancient mystery.

Theo will have to call upon everything she’s ever learned in order to prevent the rising chaos from destroying her country—and herself!

This highly praised, exciting middle grade series is a must for fans of mysteries, humor, and nonstop action.
Select format:

More books in the series - See All


Starred Review
This imaginative, supernatural mystery will find word-of-mouth popularity.

School Library Journal

Vivid descriptions of fog-shrouded London and hot, dusty Cairo enhance the palpable gothic atmosphere, while page-turning action and a plucky, determined heroine add to the book's appeal. . . A fine bet for a booktalk to classes studying ancient Egypt.

Publisher's Weekly

Starred Review
There are surprises aplenty in LaFevers's spirited debut, a sort of Indiana Jones for girls and a perfect blend of mystery and humor. . . . Loads of evocative Egyptian history and an oh-so-plucky, resourceful narrator make this the first volume in a series to watch.


Intrepid Theosodia, age 11, narrates a fantasy steeped in invented and authentic Egyptology, clashing secret societies and pre-WWI European intrigue.

Review quotes

It's the delicious, precise, and atmospheric details (nicely extended in Tanaka's few, stylized illustrations) that will capture and hold readers, from the contents of Theodosia's curse-removing kit to descriptions of the museum after hours, when Theodosia sleeps in a sarcophagus to ward off the curses of "disgruntled dead things." Kids who feel overlooked by their own distracted parents may feel a tug of recognition as Theodosia yearns for attention, and those interested in archeology will be drawn to the story's questions about the ownership and responsible treatment of ancient artifacts. A sure bet for Harry Potter fans, as well as Joan Aiken's and Eva Ibbotson's readers. This imaginative, supernatural mystery will find word-of-mouth popularity.

Booklist, ALA, Starred Review 

"Danger, mysterious museums stuffed with exotic treasures, and children who best adult evildoers are surefire ways to engage young readers, and LaFevers has combined them to good advantage here." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"...with Theo Throckmorton...girls have a truly independent role model." TimeOut New York

"Readers interested in archaeology will be drawn to the story's questions." Book Links January 2008 Book Links, ALA —

R L Lafevers
R. L. LaFevers (Robin Lorraine when she's in really big trouble) has been fascinated by libraries and museums ever since she first set foot in one. When she's not gazing longingly at ancient artifacts or wallowing in old forgotten texts, she's busy trying to keep one step ahead of her two teenage sons. She lives with the aforementioned sons, her husband, and a demonic cat in Southern California.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Clarion Books
Publication date
May 20, 2008
BISAC categories
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV002050 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Cats
JUV037000 - Juvenile Fiction | Fantasy & Magic
JUV001000 - Juvenile Fiction | Action & Adventure
JUV028000 - Juvenile Fiction | Mysteries, Espionage, & Detective Stories
JUV014000 - Juvenile Fiction | Girls & Women
JUV016040 - Juvenile Fiction | Historical | Europe
JUV013070 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Siblings
JUV016020 - Juvenile Fiction | Historical | Ancient Civilizations
JUV027000 - Juvenile Fiction | Media Tie-In
Library of Congress categories
Great Britain
20th century
Adventure and adventurers
Family life
Edward VII, 1901-1910
London (England)
Blessing and cursing
Good and evil
Incantations, Egyptian
Occult fiction
Iowa Children's Choice (ICCA) Award
Nominee 2012 - 2013

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!