While on holiday in the Isle of Wight, London schoolgirl Laurella Swift makes an amazing discovery; she can travel through time and dimensions. Threads from a charity shop rug transport the mixed-race 10-year-old back to the heart of ancient Persia, where she befriends Artafarnah and his mischievous pet lion cub, Zareen. Artafarnah is the son of Pantea, one of Persia's greatest female warriors, but when the boy falls into the clutches of a murderous enemy only Laurella can save him.
Laurella Swift and the Keys of Time is the first in a new series of Laurella Swift adventures. The historical fantasy takes middle-grade readers on a rip-roaring escapade to the court of Cyrus the Great. By imagining how a modern girl would attempt to make sense of an ancient and opulent world, readers are invited to share Laurella's emotions, consider issues such as gender equality, racial identity, friendship and mortality, and explore abstract concepts like perpetual existence.
Readers are also encouraged to discover more about ancient Persia through the inclusion of an author's note, a selection of useful links, a recipe idea and an ancient cuneiform writing activity.