The Treasure of Kyzl Kum Rodger Blockwood
An uplifting story about an adventure of a lifetime that is faced by two Russian orphans who "graduate" from the orphanage that raised them. Spending most of their lives in the Orphan House, the brother and sister are turned loose at the age of sixteen to face the bleak life in post Soviet society as young adults. Fortuitously coming across an ancient map, they choose instead to search for the lost treasure of Tamerlane, the fourteenth century conqueror of much of the know World. Using the map that purports to lead to the treasure buried in the Kyzl Kum Desert of Uzbekistan, Alexei and Darya travel thousands of miles to find their fortune, encountering great peril and enduring many hardships. Meeting sometimes helpful and often mysterious strangers along the way, they thread their way to the heart of the desert wasteland and find out much more about who they are and what is truly important in life.
Through serendipity or fate, they meet a guide on the edge of the desert whom they grow to trust with their secret. The aged but wily Alem Asim becomes a mentor to the teens. He guides them through an attack of bandits, a ferocious sandstorm, and scorpion encounters then leads them safely to the treasure cached in a cave. The treasure is little more than the lost sword of Tamerlane, made from the iron of a fallen star, and said to give its owner the power to conquer the World. Alexei and Darya are given the choice whether to claim the sword and be corrupted by its power, or leave it buried for all time. Alem Asim reveals himself as a guardian angel, but cannot interfere in their ultimate choice. Alexei and Darya choose to leave the sword to Alem Asim, who secrets it away for eternity. The book is intended for the Junior High through Early High School reader.