Mapmaker and explorer Elias has just returned from his latest journey when he is drawn into a mystery. Two identical maps that contain a riddle have been found and the style seems like that of Elias' father, except that his father has been dead for years. While on a picnic with the two young princes of the kingdom all the guards were poisoned and the princes were kidnapped along with Elias' dad. The boat on which they were taken was lost at sea and now the only remaining royal son, and Elias' close friend, is the king. But these maps hint that the tragic story everyone knows might not be correct. If Elias' father lived long enough to draw these maps, perhaps the princes are still alive as well. But someone wanted them out of the way in the first place and as Elias and the Lady Mercedes begin secretly trying to solve the riddle of the maps, it's clear that someone is still trying to keep the secret.
I think I started getting invested in this story at the point when Elias, Ulises, and Mercedes visited the haunted forest and made their discoveries there. From that point on things moved fairly quickly with attacks, murders, and revelations. The problem is that I was at least 40% into the book before I got to the exciting section. Up until that point I was dragging myself along, trying to figure out what any of this meant. And even though I ended up liking much of the book, I still don't know a whole lot about our main character Elias so I wasn't invested in him at all. I have the sense that he is an adventurous, exciting guy with a strong sense of morals but none of that was elaborated on as I would've liked. I think I could've been really wrapped up in him if I'd known more. Instead I was much more interested in Mercedes and Reyna. This could be a great adventure with some tweaking. For now, I just don't see my students being able to slog through the story to get to the adventure.