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BooklistNewly arrived in "the snake-infested dump" of San Xavier, a fictional Central American country, 14–year–old Max Murphy discovers that his archaeologist parents have disappeared. Aided in his search by resourceful Lola, a descendent of the Maya, Max learns that the gods of her people have chosen him for a mission involving powerful artifacts. The husband and wife coauthors, whose knowledge of the ancient Maya is evident from detailed appendixes and a bibliography, deliver too much information here, giving short shrift to Max's characterization and certain plot elements-such as why the ancient spirits speak English, and why Max, an often-whiny Bostonian with no ancestral ties to the Maya, finds favor with them. In addition, the pains the authors take to avoid making the culture seem exotic or strange are undercut by the wild mysticism surrounding the artifacts. Still, the book's unusual Mesoamerican backdrop is worth marking, and the Indiana Jones-influenced adventure, as well as the book's polished line drawings, will keep readers interested and looking forward to future entries in the Jaguar Stones trilogy.