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The Secrets of the Castle

(Thunder and Lightening #1)

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  28 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Intrigue and danger surround two young boys and their dogs as they see to unravel a castle mystery.
Paperback, 200 pages
Published May 28th 2014 by Bold Vision Books (first published July 2nd 2012)
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4.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  28 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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Jan 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
Got to a little past page 60 before I couldn't do it anymore... People say that the brother's are very realistic, but I do not. The rivalry passed from a rivalry to just plain mean, and the parents were... okay with it?
It also wasn't very interesting and I felt like I was being talked down to.
No disrespect towards the author, I just will not be continuing this book or this series.
Pam Graber
Dec 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Growing up, I devoured mysteries. It didn’t matter to me if the hero was a boy or a girl – Trixie Belden, The Hardy Boys, Danny Orlis – I loved the stories. I still love the suspense genre and it was so fun to read The Secrets of the Castle by Aaron Zook, Jr. It took me back in time to those adventures with “kids like me”, even though I’m a much more mature kid now!
Gabe and Alex Zanadu are growing up as ‘Army brats.’ Living in Germany with their parents, they are home-schooled by their mother wh
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-reviews
This book was so intriguing. Not only did I learn some things about Germany, some German words, but I also got caught up in the mystery of the story itself.
Two brothers are on a homeschooling field trip in Germany. Their father is military and they are stationed there for a while. They also have trained dogs who are smart and obedient (for the most part). As a homeschooling family they use every opportunity to make the best of their education and learn things hands on. But this field trip, per s
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Action-packed thrills

This book should come with a warning, “Beware! Intense adventure ahead!” The Zanadu family is en route to Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles in Germany for a family vacation when these adventures begin. The story is told from twelve-year-old Gabe’s point-of-view, and he is all action and adventure. His brother Alex is fourteen and enjoys exploring, too, but he is more logical and thoughtful. Their dogs Thunder and Lightning are along for assistance, and friends J
Meagan Myhren-bennett
The Secrets of the Castle
Thunder and Lightening Book 1
By Aaron M. Zook, Jr.

This is a book should appeal to middle grade boys. The Zanadu brothers are at present calling Germany home. When their family trip takes an unexpected and dangerous turn Gabe and Alex embark on an adventure that they weren't expecting.

For some reason their trip to Neuschwanstein has brought them to the attention of some rather unsavory characters. Gabe and Alex along with their dogs Thunder and Lightening are in danger b
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a great adventure book for late elementary tweens to read! It’s got mystery, bad guys, motorcycles, travel, tunnels, well-trained dogs, and mean big brothers!

Twelve-year-old Gabe and his fourteen-year-old brother Alex live in Germany with their military dad and homeschooling mom. In this adventure they have gone to visit some Bavarian castles, chiefly Neuschwanstein (the Disney castle was modeled after this one). They have some amazing adventures and while doing so they mention all sorts of
Penny Marks
Dec 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a great adventure book! It reminds me of the Hardy Boys books I read as a young girl. I remember when our boys were young and the struggle it was to find good adventure books. Wish this had been out there for them. Loved it from beginning to end.
The message in this book was wonderful. Two brothers always competing and trying to one up the other realize they are better as a team. And with God's help and prayer a life lesson is learned.
This story starts out with the Zanadu family on vacatio
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
SECRETS OF THE CASTLE is the first book in a new adventure series for middle grade readers. Gabe is a twelve-year-old son of a military officer stationed in Germany. He and his older brother, Alex, are typical siblings who physically fight, argue, and tattle. However, when problems arise, they work together to solve a mystery and escape the many dangerous situations they encounter. The parents are portrayed as intelligent and supportive, but they obviously have high expectations for the boys’ be ...more
Dec 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
The year is 1989 and the Zanadu family is in Germany where the father is a major in the U.S. Army. Fourteen-year-old Alexander and twelve-year-old Gabriel are on a road trip with their parents to see castles when a tire blowout starts an adventure that becomes dangerous.

This novel is told from Gabriel's viewpoint. When he finds out that the tire had been tampered with, he wonders if it has to do with his father's job in military intelligence. The family ends up at the famous Neuschwanstein Castl
Debora Wilder
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An incredibly well written adventure story!

Both Gabe and Alex are very realistic youngsters. They have a normal relationship with each other fights and disagreements included. I really liked the relationship that they had with their parents though. The fact that their father has taught them a lot of wonderful survival skills was apparent and very helpful as they faced excitement and adventure. This story reminded me a lot of the Hardy Boys Mysteries that I read growing up.

An added level of enjo
Sharon Paavola
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is out of my normal genre yet with a newborn grandson it's not too soon to compile a list for him to read.
Escapades for two brothers and their dogs, Thunder and Lightning on vacation in Germany with their parents fills The Secrets of the Castle. Gabe opens in first person with a scary ride on the Autobahn in their van, the Go Mobile. On their way to visit two castles he and his brother, Alex have studied in homeschool Gabe is certain a hidden tunnel connects the two. What transpires t
Anne Rightler
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
A brand new tire blows on the German Autobahn...freak accident or felonious activity. And so begins The Secrets of the Castle, first in the Thunder and Lightning series of books for pre-teens and young teens. Intrigue and mystery follow two brothers, Gabe and Alex, on a seemingly innocent family vacation to visit a couple castles in Germany. Kidnapping, a runaway horse and carriage, hidden caves and threatening notes keep the pages turning. Readers are entertained too by the antics of the boys' ...more
Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Secrets of the Castle, Book 1 in the Thunder and Lightning Series, by Aaron M. Zook introduces the Zanadu brothers, Alex and Gabriel, and their dogs, Thunder and Lightning. The boys are young detectives who are well trained in a variety of skills such as caving, martial arts, etc since their father is in the military. Their dogs have undergone strict obedience training, also. Being stationed in Germany, part of their homeschooling involves field trips which the one in this book is planned to vis ...more
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Secrets of the Castle by author Aaron M. Zook is a mystery action adventure story that is great especially for tween boys. The two brothers and their dogs, Thunder and Lighting, find themselves in the Neuschwanstein castle, in Germany in the year 2012. On vacation with their parents and friends, strange things begin to happen to them. Due to too many coincidences, the brothers do all they can to become sleuths to help their father, who is in the military, investigate. Although these things a ...more
Beth Erin
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Secrets of the Castle is about two brothers, Alex and Gabe, and their talented dogs, Thunder and Lightning. Alex and Gabe are on a homeschool field trip with their family and the family of their friends, Jenna and Peter. The families are living in Germany and visiting Neuschwanstein castle.

My 10 year old daughter loved this book so much that she has read it multiple times. She enjoyed the descriptions of the rolling hill country and ancient castle. The boys had a realistic brotherly relatio
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Gabe and Alex with their dogs Lightning and Thunder find themselves get involved in a mystery about two castles, secret tunnels, and some very mean men. The mystery in the book is very intriguing, and the story well written. With the addition of two amazing dogs, this has everything a kid would want in a read. I enjoyed this book, but my daughter is probably going to be raving about it!

Finding good interesting reads for middle age readers isn't easy, and finding ones written with a Christian pe
Carrie Gould
Apr 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic book! Brothers, Alex and Gabe, find themselves in the middle of a mystery while on a trip to Germany. I love the descriptions of the castles. The characters are realistic, likable and relatable. I appreciate that they are homeschooled as I homeschool my sons. The story is well written and will keep your attention. I think boys and girls alike will enjoy reading this book. Actually, anyone who enjoys a good mystery will enjoy this adventure. I highly recommend this book and ha ...more
Dec 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Secrets of the Castle is an quite an adventurous read. With a mixture of action, mystery, suspense, and of course, the adventure, it was hard to put down.
4 stars.
I received this book from in exchange for my honest opinion, which was given.
Jessica Lloyd
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Aaron Zooks Jr for signing this book for me when you came to Fort.Hood last weekend.
Michael Zook
rated it it was amazing
Aug 07, 2014
rated it really liked it
Mar 12, 2016
Sarah Napientek johnson
rated it really liked it
Jul 04, 2018
Aaron Zook
Nov 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is an excellent adventure in Germany. Exciting and well written for this age-group!
Michele Maynard
rated it it was amazing
Feb 12, 2016
Mallori Norris
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Mar 19, 2017
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Aug 22, 2016
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Jul 26, 2017
marked it as to-read
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Jan 28, 2016
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Jul 16, 2018
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Jan 13, 2017
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is currently reading it
Oct 06, 2018
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Other books in the series

Thunder and Lightening (3 books)
  • The Salt Mines Mystery (Thunder and Lightening #2)
  • The Phantom of the Fortress (Thunder and Lightning #3)