Title: Yaakov and the Secret of Acra Fortress
By Nathaniel Wyckoff
Book number three in author Nathaniel Wyckoff’s Peretz Family Adventures series, Yaakov and the Secret of Acra Fortress, continues to deliver fun, action-packed adventure that keeps the reader on the edge of his or her seat. This time, Yaakov and his siblings take us on a veritable roller-coaster ride, from Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley to Israel, then to India and back.
A few months after their previous adventure in Israel, the Peretz family find themselves back in that country to embark on their latest adventure, courtesy of good friend and billionaire Aharon Sapir. Yaakov Peretz, our 11-year-old hero, first gets tipped off to possible trouble when he finds a strange Greek man in his backyard, with a bracelet reading “N” and the Greek letter “Alpha.”
On the last day of their planned vacation in Israel, the family visits a museum based atop the Acra Fortress, built by Chanukah villain King Antiochus 2,000 years ago. The futuristic Peretzes visit the museum for a special exhibit, celebrating the passage of 10 years that workers unearthed the remains of the fortress in 2015. Little does the Peretz family know, as they peruse the fascinating artifacts, that their tour guide, Rutvij Rao – a claimed descendent of Antiochus – plans to hold them hostage inside the museum until his crazy republic of New Antioch gets recognition from all the countries of the world. Yaakov sees that he, too, wears the “N. Alpha” bracelet.
Yaakov and his younger brother and sister manage to escape the museum, and arrange to meet their robot-dealing friend, Dilip Sitoop, in India, where they plan to rescue the hidden Temple gold–again courtesy of Mr. Sapir. Of course, things do not work out exactly to plan: They need to evade and outdo Rutvij’s henchmen along the way. However, the Peretz children again triumph in the end, after leading us through lots of page-turning adventure that also teaches us some very interesting history.
We all know the Chanukah story, about how the brave band of Maccabees beat the mighty Seleucid Greek army, and saved the Jewish people from forced assimilation into Hellenistic culture. Some may know about King Antiochus’ Acra Fortress, and that workers discovered its remains under a Jerusalem parking lot recently. But how many people know the lineage of King Antiochus, known formally as Antiochus IV Epiphanes?
As for the futuristic features of Acra Fortress, Wyckoff simply described technologies that either only exist in the experimental stage now, or that have come into limited use in the present day. For example: Like the Peretz family, people can buy robots now that will do light housekeeping. The Peretz children use the “QuickyRail” to get where they need to go and to outsmart Rutvij’s goons. Inventor Elon Musk has experimented with this technology, formally called the Hyperloop, which may come into being sometime soon. Dilip Sitoop’s robotic fireflies, which help the Peretz kids triumph over Rutvij Rao, reflect the recent Harvard University experimentation with robotic flies.
One can order Yaakov and the Secret of Acra Fortress and the other books in the Peretz Family Adventures series through Amazon.com or through Wyckoff’s website, www.peretzadventures.com.