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"No more pyramids! The words went through me and filled me with excitement. It was as if Ankhhaf had put into words the thoughts that had been struggling to be heard within me, ever since I heard about the death of my father."

Pyramid of Secrets: An Egyptian Boy is the forty-fourth book in My Story. It was Jim Eldridge's eighth book for the series. The book was published in August 2010 by Scholastic UK. It was the last book of the main series to feature a male protagonist until Ignatius Sancho in 2021. The book was also published in Canada with a new cover design.

Set in Ancient Egypt during 2517 BC, Nebka joins his uncle in working on the pyramids of Giza.


"To Lynne, my continual inspiration

Book description[]

"It's 2517 BC, and the river Nile has flooded. Unable to plough their fields, Nebka follows his uncle to build the pyramid of Khafre.
It's back-breaking work, all for the glory of the Pharaoh. Then he meets a mysterious prisoner claiming to be the right heir to the throne, and is drawn in to a deadly plot...

"2517 BC
I felt the power of the pyramid pulling me towards it, as it pulled all those other hundreds of people. But at the same time the towering shape of the pyramid repulsed me because of what it stood for: death. Not the death of the King. That was ordained and the pyramid was indeed a sacred monument to preserve his body and spirit forever. No, it was the death of the men who were drawn towards it, even as we were—those who had died and those who were yet to die.


In 2517 BC, twelve-year-old orphan Nebka is living on an Egyptian farm owned by his uncle Minkaf and aunt Ipwet. He dislikes living with them since they are often harsh with him and the work is hard. Years previously he lost both of his parents. His mother died in childbirth, while his father was crushed by large stone block while working on the pyramid of the previous king. Because of his father's death, Nebka has grown resentful towards pyramids and the kings that they represent. Once a year the Nile floods and fertilizes the land. During this time, farmers and labourers go to work on the pyramids. One day, Minkaf announces that Nebka will be going with him. He protests but has no choice in the matter.

On the way to Giza, Nebka meets Isesi whom becomes his first friend. At the pyramids, Minkaf is chosen to work on the Sphinx. He has Nebka placed in the same "gang," meaning group, as Isesi and asks him to look out for his nephew. The gang, called the Friends of Djoser, is lead by Isesi's father Huni. He is a good leader, but has issues with overconsuming beer, which is safer to drink than water. A few days later, Nebka is guarding the equipment for a brief moment when a group of threatening criminals chained together approach him. He is saved by another group led by Ankhhaf. The man claims to be the rightful king of Egypt and speaks of being for the people. Nebka is fascinated by his words.

Nebka tells Isesi about Ankhhaf, but he says that he is likely crazy or a liar which makes Nebka mad. A couple days later, Minkaf shows Nebka the current progress of the Sphinx. Feeling only anger for it, Nebka's cool attitude irritates his uncle who thinks that it is a great honor to work on the Sphinx. Some days later, Nebka sees Pepi encouraging Huni to drink too much beer during their midday break. While they are loading one of the large stones, Huni slips and Isesi pushes his father out of the way. Isesi is crushed to death under the stone's weight. Despite the tragedy, Nebka and the others must continue working. That night, Pepi, who is the new leader, has Huni sent away due to his anguished cries.

The next day, the men are all forced to line up and bow for the arrival of King Khafre. Nebka is repulsed by the fuss and bother given to the event. That night, Nebka goes to the mastaba tombs where the prisoners are housed. There he speaks to Ankhhaf again. He entreats Nebka to help him and his comrades escape in two days time. The next day, his uncle receives word of Nebka's visit and forbids him from going there again. He helps Ankhhaf anyway, but his ideals are shattered when Ankhhaf coldly murders a guard. Nebka's uncle arrives with enough men to stop the prison escape. Furthermore, Minkaf lies about Nebka's role in the incident. Nebka feels ashamed but now has an appreciation for his uncle.


In 2484 BC, a forty-five-year-old Nebka looks back on his life. After what happened with Ankhhaf, he accepted his uncle's guidance and eventually worked on the Sphinx with him. Nebka is now married with three children and one grandson. His family continues to work his uncle and aunt's land. His son, Khaba is away working on the pyramids. Nebka's grandson Djedefhor will soon turn twelve and go to the pyramids with his father. He anticipates that Djedefhor will return wanting to hear his stories. Nebka plans to tell him all about his uncle, but will take the story of Ankhhaf to the grave.

Historical Note[]

The historical note is separated into seven sections and begins by listing the time periods of Ancient Egypt. The first section discusses the Nile, which is the world's longest river. The Egyptians held the river as "sacred" as its annual flood fertilized the land on either side of it. The following section touches briefly on Ancient Egyptian religion, mostly describing the sun god Ra. It then lists a short selection of other gods important to Egypt. The third section is about the history of the pyramids in Ancient Egypt. It also discusses the importance of the buildings in relation to how the Egyptians viewed the afterlife.

In the fourth section, the Ancient Egyptians advancements in technology are discussed in short. The following section talks about the process of mummification, which was only for the rich and powerful at the time. The Sphinx is the focus of the sixth section, which discusses the debate of when the monument was built. The final section closes out on the "oldest board game in the world," senet.


Main article: List of Pyramid of Secrets characters
  • Nebka, the twelve-year-old nephew of Minkaf. He accompanies his uncle to Giza to work on King Khafre's pyramid, where he meets a man claiming to be the rightful king of Egypt.
  • Minkaf is Nebka's strict uncle whom has taken care of his nephew since his brother's death six years previously. He is very harsh with Nebka, though he has a reason for his harshness.


Main article: Jim Eldridge

Jim Eldridge is a British author as well as a radio, film and television screenwriter. He has written over one hundred novels for children and young adults. Eldridge is the author of twelve books in My Story, including The Trenches, Armada, Flying Ace, Spy Smuggler, Desert Danger, Roman Invasion, The Sweep's Boy, Standing Alone, Dodger!, London Stories, and Codename Céline.



"With thanks to Dr. Kathryn Piquette, formerly of the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, for her many helpful comments, about the text of Pyramid of Secrets. Any historical inaccuracies that remain are my own."


  • The cover was illustrated by artist Richard Jones, whom also illustrated many My Story covers.
  • The portrait on the Canadian edition is photograph taken by Aldo Fierro. The background is a photograph licensed from The Art Archive/CORBIS.[5]
  • Pyramid of Secrets is set in the earliest time period out of all the series not just My Story.


  2. The epilogue is set during 2484 BC.
  3. Pyramid of Secrets, Jim Eldridge, page 47
  5. Pyramid of Secrets (ISBN 9781443107587), Jim Eldridge, copyright page

See also[]

My Story

The Hunger | Voyage on the Great Titanic | The Crystal Palace | Blitz | My Tudor Queen | Twentieth-Century Girl
The Great Plague | The '45 Rising | Civil War | Trafalgar | The Trenches | Battle of Britain | Mill Girl | Transported
Armada | Crimea | Bloody Tower | Indian Mutiny | Zulu War | Mayflower | Agincourt | Suffragette | Waterloo | Slave Girl
Flying Ace | Anne Boleyn and Me | D-Day | Victorian Workhouse | Spy Smuggler | Desert Danger | War Nurse
U-Boat Hunter | The Queen's Spies

1st relaunch

Princess of Egypt | Pompeii | Road to War | Roman Invasion | Viking Blood | Highway Girl | Sophie's Secret War
The Storm to Come | The Sweep's Boy | The Fall of the Blade | Pyramid of Secrets | Factory Girl | Dodger!
No Way Back | Wartime Princess | London Stories | Berlin Olympics | Lady Jane Grey | Nowhere to Run

2nd relaunch

Codename Céline

3rd relaunch

Noor-un-Nissa Inayat Khan | Ignatius Sancho | Princess Sophia Duleep Singh | Mary Prince

My Royal Story

Victoria | Anastasia | Cleopatra | Marie Antoinette | Elizabeth | Mary, Queen of Scots | Henry VIII's Wives

My True Story

What If They Find Us? | Hero at Dunkirk | Standing Alone | Give Us the Vote!

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