The Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I had such hopes for this, because it deals with Indian mythology and archaeology. Sadly (and this might just be because I read an ARC, and this will be corrected in the final version) there are no "If you want to know more..." pointers.
Ash and Lucky are on vacation in India, staying with their Uncle Vikram and Aunt Anita. Vik is an expert on ancient Indian languages and as a result the entire group is invited to the Savage Fortress, a former palace in Varanasi. There Ash sees something that's a little odd... perhaps terrifying... but Lord Savage's offering Vik two million pounds for a translation seems to smooth things over. Of course, that's just the start to a tale of reincarnation, ancient gods and wars, Indian history and adventure.
Ash's learning martial arts to fight helps him at the orphanage; having a demon/rakshasa girl/cobra named Parvati helps him as he tries to rescue his sister and fight Lord Savage and the rest of the baddies. As I said, having a way to learn more about Kali, Vishnu, rakshasas and other aspects of Indian culture and mythology would make all that so much more accessible to readers who know little about this. There are other cultural references, like parkour or being a "red shirt" that might not resonate with middle grade readers and need more explanation.
ARC provided by publisher.