Another random choice off the library bookshelf proves a good one. We just got back from a four-day trip to Ashland to visit Dean's mom, and we started reading Mara: Daughter of the Nile. We're about halfway through now.
I've been looking for historical fiction about ancient Egypt, since that's the period in history we're studying right now. I couldn't have ended up with a better book. It's basically a spy thriller set in the palace of Hatshepsut, an ancient female (and historical) pharaoh. The main character is Mara, a slave girl, who, with the hope of buying her own freedom, is simultaneously hired as a spy by opposing sides (one who supports the current pharaoh's reign and one who believes her half-brother is the rightful pharaoh). The dialogue is superb, the characters are utterly delightful, and the descriptions of day-to-day life are very well done. The best part is the page-turning suspense. It's very hard to put the book down at the end of a chapter. It would really make a wonderful movie, with the sharp dialogue, vivid descriptions, and great action.
Another bonus - so far, at least, it has not gone heavy (or even lightly) into any avodah zorah/idol worship. It does provide enough of a contrast to Judaism that the differences are pointed out as we go, and we also get a vague inkling of what life in Egypt might have been like in the general time period of yetziat mitzraim/exodus from Egypt. The author also uses a very wide vocabulary, including many new words for Amirah. The sentence structure is pleasantly complex, but not so much so that an almost-6-year-old is totally lost.
We can't wait to find out where it all ends!