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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Jaguar Stones, Book Four: The Lost City

The epic conclusion to the exciting Jaguar Stones series and a rip-roaring adventure into the heart of America!

With his parents in jail and the Maya Death Lords in possession of all five Jaguar Stones, fourteen-year-old Max Murphy is pretty sure that he'll never get to leave the rainforest. 

But the Lords of Death have a problem--a new king calling himself Great Sun claims to have the Jaguar Stones, too. And they want Max to prove the guy's a fraud. Or else.

Now, Max, and Lola, the mysterious girl who befriends him, are off on another wild adventure that will take them from Central America to New Orleans and up the Mississippi to the lost city at the heart of America's past.

But one thing Max should have learned after all of this dealings with the Death Lords -- they never keep their promises.


About J&P Voelkel

Jon Voelkel grew up in Peru, Costa Rica, and Colombia, all the while dreaming of a boring life in suburbia. Eventually, having survived monkey stew, an attack by giant rats, and a plane crash in the jungle, he rolled up his hammock and decamped to Europe. Meanwhile, growing up in a sedate seaside town in northern England, Pamela Craik Voelkel was dreaming of travel and adventure. The pair met in London, where they both worked in advertising. They went on to help found an award-winning agency, for which Jon was named one of the fifty most creative minds in Britain by the Financial Times. The authors' first book in the Jaguar Stones series, Middleworld, was an Al Roker Book Club pick. The Voelkels now live in Vermont with their three children. You can visit them online at

Tell us your latest news? 
We are thrilled, astonished, and a little bit sad to announce that our Jaguar Stones series is finished. The fourth and final book, The Lost City, comes out in February 2015. To celebrate this momentous event, we'll be signing at our hometown Norwich Bookstore on March 7th, then heading out to the Tucson Festival of Books in mid-March, immediately followed by a book tour that takes in California, New Orleans, Mississippi, Iowa, and Texas!

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest work?
THE LOST CITY is the fourth and final book in the Jaguar Stones series. It follows the adventures of Max, a city kid from Boston, Massachusetts, and Lola, a girl from a traditional Maya village. Together they've been trying (and failing) to stop the ancient Maya Lords of Death from staging a comeback. 

However, these days, you can't conquer the world without conquering social media. So now, the battle is on for hearts and minds. With the Death Lords on a charm offensive, Max and Lola try to warn a gullible public not to believe everything it reads on the internet. They journey across the Gulf of Mexico and up the Mississippi to the Native American city of Cahokia, before facing one final heart-stopping showdown at Fenway Park in Boston. 

So many readers have made this journey with us and we wanted to give them an ending that is at once satisfying but unexpected. We're hoping they'll agree that The Lost City is the fastest, funniest, most fantastical, most feel good Jaguar Stones book yet. It's got a  parade of Maya monsters, a roller-skating monkey, an alien spaceship, and the Boston Red Sox - what more could anyone want?

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
What's unusual about the Jaguar Stones books is that many of the main characters are Maya. When all-American boy Max arrives in the rainforest, he assumes that the locals will be envious of him -but soon learns there are more important things than money. Lola has her own problems. She respects the values of her elders but has very different dreams for her own future. Together Max and Lola are drawn into an epic battle between good and evil. But along the way they discover that nothing is black-and-white.

Are any of your characters based on real-life friends or acquaintances?
Yes. But we live in a small town so we can't elaborate on that.

Where do your ideas come from?
A lot of the background story was supplied by Jon's real-life childhood in South and Central America. The adventures of Max and Lola were inspired by the Maya myth of the Hero Twins. Many of their adventures along the way, like canoeing the underground river or tracking howler monkeys in the jungle, came from our travels with our own children. Lola's story came from talking to modern Maya teenagers. And, of course, the more you learn about the amazing Maya, the more your head fills with stories and wonders and astonishing true facts.

Tell us about your cover. Did you design it yourself? 
No, Jon does all the illustrations inside the books, but the covers are commissioned by the publisher. The cover of The Lost City was  illustrated by Sam Hadley. It shows Max and Lola arriving at the great pyramid of Cahokia (a real-life Native American city near St Louis), which has been taken over by a mysterious character who claims to be a Maya king.

Ok, now some fun questions…

White Chocolate, Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate?
Jon: Milk
Pamela: Dark

What is your favourite colour?
We agree on Maya blue.

Winter or Summer?
Summer in Vermont.

If you could have one superpower what would it be?
Pamela would choose time travel so she could try to stop the Spanish burning the Maya books.

Jon would like to be able to stop time altogether, as he has several deadlines looming.

What are three things you never leave home without (apart from keys, money and phone)?
When we're on a book tour, that would be a glue gun, a bag of fried mealworms, and a dongle.

Are you a technology buff (i.e have every electronic gadget known to man)?
Yes, we're both suckers for anything with an Apple logo. Jon is also easily led astray by catalogues of gizmos for electric guitars.

What is a movie or TV show that you watched just recently and enjoyed?

We've been watching Running Wild With Bear Grylls, where the fearless former British army soldier takes quivering celebrities into perilous environments and teaches them to survive. Bear's adventures inspired us to film ourselves eating bugs in the rainforest for the entertainment of kids on our school visits! (Or, to be more accurate, Jon ate the bugs and Pamela bravely volunteered to film him.) 


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