Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow” as Want to Read:
Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow

(Jake Ransom #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  2,605 Ratings  ·  259 Reviews
When a mysterious envelope arrives for Jake Ransom, he and his older sister, Kady, are plunged into a gripping chain of events. An artifact found by their parents—on the expedition from which they never returned—leads Jake and Kady to a strange world inhabited by a peculiar mix of long-lost civilizations, a world that may hold the key to their parents' disappearance.

But ev
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by HarperCollins (first published 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
The good thing about this book, is that even though I didn't feel totally immersed and invested while actually listening to it (as I had the audio cd) I ended up thinking about it between “readings,” and even now, a week after finishing, I find myself still harkening back to the story and wondering where it will go next.

First of all, I love the ideas Rollins has come up with here. I've always been interested in 'mixing and matching' - what would happen if various people, animals, eras, came toge
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have known of this book for some time but for some unknown reason I have always convinced myself not to bother - no idea why but I do now know I was a fool to do so.

James Rollins is an established author with many books to his name including the novelisation of the last (latest?) Indiana Jones film, so why is this book (and the sequel so special)

Well they were written with a different audience in mind - now I will admit that the fast paced action packed, slightly supernatural thrillers he writ
Although this is my first Rollins book, it seems like he is an old friend. I don't know him personally or anything, but his was one of the first author talks my sister and I attended and he was just such a nice man who told great adventure stories about his life and seemed to have a great sense of family. We won a drawing for a copy of his latest book and got to go to the front of the autograph line so we even got to chat with him a bit--though we felt a tad bad since there were so many fans the ...more
Apr 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow is a delightful combination of fantasy, mystery, history, and suspense, along with memorable characters, mystifying riddles, and marvelous creatures. The premise of the book is especially captivating: a world where all cultures coexist in one country, speaking the same language. Rollins takes advantage of this strange culture hodgepodge, introducing the reader to a variety of characters from all backgrounds, and all sorts of customs and people. In addition ...more
Eva Mitnick
Oct 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, children
The good: The plentiful action and thrills, as well as the exotic setting and people, should grab and hold the attention of readers who love adventure. Even reluctant readers may give this one a whirl if it's booktalked with maximum verve, and it might be a fun read-aloud for a 5th or 6th grade class.
The bad: The sentence structure is short and choppy - perhaps this is good for a reluctant reader but it certainly detracted from my own reading pleasure. There is very little character development
Jul 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
On a break from Middleton Prep, Jacob Ransom and his older sister, Katherine (Kady) are accidentally transported to a mysterious place inhabited and governed by a mixture of cultural groups from different times and places: Mayan, Roman, Egyptian, Sumerian, Medieval, Norse, and even Neanderthal. The existence of this peaceful and cooperative civilization is threatened - as are Jake and Kady - by the dark evil of Kalverum Rex, the Skull King. This fast-paced adventure combines elements of Harry Po ...more
Jun 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ένα συναρπαστικό βιβλίο φαντασίας που συνδυάζει τέλεια διαφορά ιστορικά στοιχεία όλων των εποχών (αν και απογοητεύτηκα λίγο που στην "Καλύψω" δεν υπήρχαν Έλληνες).
Οι χαρακτήρες ήταν έξυπνοι και ευφευρετικοί, αν και λυπόμουν που όλοι έδιναν συγχαρητήρια στον Τζέικ και «αγνοούσαν» τους υπόλοιπους που είχαν βοηθήσει εξίσου. Παρ'όλα αυτά, Ο Τζέικ ήταν συμπαθητικός και δεν γίνεται να μην το συμπαθήσεις.
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: soft
a bit too nerdy, perhaps
Ravenous Biblioworm
Apr 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Rating: 3.5/5

I forgot how refreshing some tween/middle grade books are compared to Young Adult novels. They aren’t flooded with the angsty love triangles or romance. If there are any romance, it is limited or gets straight to the point without the ritual dancing of “Oh woe me, my heart is broken” (where I roll my eyes do wish literally that their hearts will break, and witnesss the blood gush out of their chest, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth… if you couldn’t tell I am really annoyed, and yes, I pr
Nov 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Summary: This historical fiction / fantasy novel is based on the Mayan civilization. When a mysterious invitation to an exibit of his missing parents' mayan discoveries appears, Jake and his sister Kady head off to London to visit the museum. Sponsored by a mysterious corporation, the exibit is held during a solar eclipse and when Jake puts his and Kady's coins in a golden pyramid, they are transported to an alternate time. In Atlantis, Jake, his new friends, and his sister fight mysterious mons ...more
John Beta
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Meh. James Rollins is one of my favorite thriller/adventure (T & A) authors. So, I decided to give this some of my attention. Sorry, but it lacked the T & A I'm accustomed to from his Sygma Force and other novels.
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Arghhh.... I written a good review and lost it due to goodreads being over capacity..

Right main points.. I wont spoil this book beyond the synopsis, but i reckon all fans of James Rollins, especially read this book. Hell I recommend this book to anyone.

James Rollins is my favorite author. I love he style of writing and how he twists fact into fiction/reality into fiction, to create amazing story/book worlds and with interesting characters.

I admit a first I was hesitant to read this book. Previ
Twelve-year-old Jake doesn't seem to have adjusted to his parents' disappearance three years prior as well as his older sister, Kady, has. She is part of the popular crowd at school, but all he can think of is how he will one day become an archaeologist like them and figure out what happened to them.

This first story in the series begins in what appears to be a normal American setting, but it quickly changes dramatically as Jake and Kady end up suddenly thrust into a very unexpected adventure. Re
Un legame tra il nostro mondo,la nascita dei continenti e dei popoli

Ebbene ci sono ricascata.Ho voluto dare un altra possibilità a questo scrittore,conosciuto con Artico,un po' forse troppo adrenalinico,ma scorrevole nella lettura.
Alla fine anche questa ho scoperto essere una serie,dedicata ai grandi popoli che hanno abitato la terra dall'inizio (guarda caso iniziamo con i Maya e pure con uno spizzico di Atlantide...).
Come inizio mi piace: è una storia fantasy,avventurosa,di viaggi nel tempo,di
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Jake Ransom isn't a typical middle school-aged boy. During his spring break, he won't be playing video games or hanging with friends. He plans on attending a book signing of the new release written by his favorite physicist, sitting in on a lecture about the cannibal tribes of Borneo, and excavating shellfish fossils he discovered in a rock quarry near his house. No, Jake Ransom is no normal middle-schooler, but most kids his age didn't have archaeologist parents who went missing three
Hannah Belyea
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
While looking over an exhibition of all the artifacts his missing parents found on their travels, Jake and his sister Kady find themselves transported to Calypsos, a city made of various tribes. As they try to find a way back home, they soon learn that the great evil haunting the city could be looking for them, as well! Rollins begins an enjoyable and creative story that will have adventure and fantasy fans begging for more! Be sure to tag along on this epic journey as Jake, Kady and their new f ...more
Michael Chesler
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Always a pleasure

This story is about a boy named Jake and how he held us all here for ransom! Even though there is no such animal as a brontosaurus, their were avian reptiles that, indeed, had teeth!
The book was creative home travel with a mix of different cultures that reminded me of the river world series
Darlene Van Horn
Right up my alley for reading. I liked it because it got my attention and I was a goner after that.!!
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this book when I was in 5th grade and loved it. I'm so glad that I found the series again, hopefully he'll have more books out soon *wink, wink*
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
A really good book, but a little too slow-paced at times. I enjoyed the setting. The characters were clearly depicted and easy to distinguish from one another.
Octavianus Gautama
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love it. Didn't expect much, but boy, was I wrong. As I joined Jake and Kady on their journey, I couldn't put the book down. Really enjoy it.
Vanalottiel Olanthir
This was much better than I expected, and highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys a good adventure.
M.D. Khamil
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you liked Percy Jackson, this is the book you should pick up next! Amazing! Stunning! Adventurous! Risky! Wonderful! Just WOW!!!
Mimi 'Pans' Herondale
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Real Rating: 3.75
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow cliche (kinda, sorta, a lot)at first but the rest of the book was interesting and I enjoyed it more than I expected to.
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
This was a fun adventure story involving time travel. At the beginning I thought it was going to be kind of gimmick-y, but it turned out that everything that the author put into the book had a good reason for being there. The one thing that bugged me is that the characters are supposed to be from different cultures, but beyond the outward trappings of wearing different clothing and eating different food, they all sound like modern-day people with no distinction between any of them. But otherwise ...more
Che dire, l’ho comprato molto tempo fa perché fa parte di una duologia e in quel momento mi sembrava conveniente, ma non avrei mai pensato che fosse per ragazzi XD Quindi questa volta è: mea culpa.
E fidatevi che la differenza si sente tutta.
Comunque, devo ammettere che non ho scelto esattamente un buon momento per leggerlo. Sono piena di raffreddore, la testa mi scoppia e James Rollins si diverte a rendermi le cose difficili, con questo libro pieno zeppo di cose diverse che in qualche modo è riu
Jun 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jordan Anderson
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Funny story about this book:

Though I love James Rollins, and though I knew the book existed, I really didn't have much desire to read it. While YA novels are great for younger readers and they tend to be more simplified and easy to read, the whole genre has just never really appealed to me. With a few exceptions aside (Harry Potter and The Hunger Games being the obvious ones here), young adult novels have failed to impress me. Yes, this idea could bring new fans to him, but the fear that Rollins
Wayne Walker
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Jacob Bartholomew (Jake) Ransom, a 13-year-old eighth grader at Middleton Prep middle school, lives with his archaeologist parents Richard and Penelope, his older sister Katherine Edwina (Kady) who is a tenth grader at Middleton Prep senior high, and their basset hound Watson, at Ravensgate Manor in North Hampshire, CT. However, Mr. and Mrs. Ransom, along with Dr. Henry Bethel, have been missing and presumed dead after their archaeological dig to study the classic period of Mayan civilization at ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Triad of Finity (Oliver Nocturne, #6)
  • Nick of Time (Nick McIver, #1)
  • Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh (Theodosia Throckmorton, #4)
  • The Dead Gentleman
  • Till Death Do Us Bark (43 Old Cemetery Road, #3)
  • The Celestial Globe (The Kronos Chronicles, #2)
  • Walls Within Walls
  • 100% Wolf
  • Misty Gordon and the Mystery of the Ghost Pirates
  • Oracles of Delphi Keep (Oracles of Delphi Keep, #1)
  • Candle Man: The Society of Dread (Candle Man, #2)
  • The Midnight Gate (Spellbinder #2)
  • The Resisters (The Resisters, #1)
  • Secret Vengeance (Young Repairman Jack, #3)
  • Puddlejumpers
  • Ancient, Strange, and Lovely (Dragon Chronicles, #4)
  • Urchin and the Rage Tide (The Mistmantle Chronicles, #5)
  • The Uglified Ducky
James Rollins is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of international thrillers that have been translated into more than forty languages. Known for unveiling unseen worlds, scientific breakthroughs, and historical secrets, Rollins has a knack for breakneck pacing and stunning originality that has been hailed by critics and embraced by millions of readers around the world.

Other books in the series

Jake Ransom (2 books)
  • Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx
“His own cabinat of cuoriositie” 1 likes
“Het meisje struikelde verbaasd opzij en sprong toen langs hen als een lichtvoetig hert. Ze had een wijde geborduurde bloes aan en een lange rok die dichtgeknopt was in de taille en een split had tot halverwege haar dij. Haar fonkelende, smaragdgroene ogen pasten precies bij de jaden ketting die om haar nek stuiterde... Toen ze de grot uit waren geklommen, keek Marika Jake even recht aan. Het zonlicht flitste als smaragdgroen vuur uit haar ogen, die een mengeling van nieuwsgierigheid en plezier lieten zien.” 0 likes
More quotes…