Kassie Kendrick grew up exploring with her famous archaeologist grandfather, who would create puzzles and treasure hunts leading her through the many secret spaces of her family's home, an ancient stone structure on the Royal Harbour of Lochmount. Now in her early twenties and living far away from home, Kassie struggles to find her place in the world. Until a letter from her grandfather lures her home, starting her off on a quest to solve his final puzzle. Following the clues, hidden inside antique silver lockets, Kassie and her friends are lured through secret tunnels, high up into the Asho mountains, and south across the sea to explore an ancient temple in the desert territory of Khemet. But with the soon to be crowned Prince Diomedes believing her to be a threat to his throne, it soon becomes evident there is far more to be found at the end of their journey than she could ever imagine.
… something about the crossword puzzle caught her eye. "Dainan, my name is an answer in this puzzle,” she said, frowning as she looked at the clue. "A tool used to clean teeth? What?" Kassie exclaimed. "That can't be right. What was granddad doing?"
Dainan walked around the table to look over her shoulder. "Has he written in any other wrong answers?" he asked curiously.
"I'm not sure." Kassie looked at the puzzle again, "Oh wait, here's one. 'The sun each evening?' granddad wrote, "look."
"Kassie, look," Dainan put the two incorrect answers together. "Maybe he was leaving you a message? It looks like he may have written over older correct answers."
"Maybe, but why?" Kassie said, picking up her grandfather's pen and ripping a corner off the back page of the newspaper; she began to write.
"Kassie, and look," she spoke as she wrote down the words in the blank margin of the paper.
"Here's another," Dainan exclaimed, pointing at eight down. “‘Hiding' isn't the answer to 'a chanteuse,' it would be a 'singer.'"
"You're right." She added the word "hiding" to her list.
The pair quickly went through the rest of the crossword puzzle, picking out all the words her grandfather had answered incorrectly.
"Okay, so we have Kassie, look, hiding, you, place, love, and secret." Kassie read out.
"Kassie look secret hiding place, love you," Dainan said, rearranging the words to make more sense.
Kassie blinked back tears; these were her grandfather's last words to her.
“Any idea where this secret hiding place might be?” Dainan asked, jumping up from the table.
"There are at least a dozen on this floor alone," Kassie said, looking at the room around her. "There's a compartment in the brick behind the stove and another in the cold room under the floor," she continued.
“Did you have a favourite one? We could start there."
“There was one we used a lot when I was a child. Granddad used to hide little notes and treats for me there so Gran wouldn't know he was spoiling me." Kassie headed towards the fireplace. Dainan followed her across the room; all thoughts of snacks were forgotten.
"The trick is, you need to push the keystone from both sides at the same time," she said, demonstrating the move when he joined her. As a child she had required a small stool her grandad had kept tucked away at the back of the hearth; now she was able to easily reach the centre of the arch by rising up on her toes. At her touch, a tile on the far right of the mantle slid out of place to reveal a four-inch square hollow in the stone behind it.