Title of the work
Country of the First Edition
Country/countries of popularity
First Edition Date
First Edition Details
Agnieszka Stelmaszyk, Kroniki Archeo: Szyfr Jazona. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Zielona Sowa, 2014, 264 pp.
Action and adventure fiction
Detective and mystery fiction
Children (9–11 years)
We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.
Author of the Entry:
Marta Pszczolińska, University of Warsaw, m. firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, email@example.com
Katarzyna Marciniak, University of Warsaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
, b. 1976
Agnieszka Stelmaszyk was born in 1976 and trained as a Polish teacher, although she has never worked as one. Before she discovered her literary talent, she took up various jobs. Her initial interests were inspired by her mother, a biology teacher – as a girl she dreamt of becoming a doctor or a naturalist. Then she considered becoming an archeologist or even a painter. She eventually became fulfilled as a writer – she claims that what she likes the most about this profession is the fact that she can impersonate any character and for a moment become someone completely different.
The author made her debut in 2007 with her series Opowiadania z morałem [Stories with a Moral] published by Papilon. In the same year, she also published the first part of her children’s novel – Mali agenci [Little Spies]. A breakthrough for the author came in 2010 with the first volume of Kroniki Archeo [The Archeo Chronicles] – a book that became such a success that she is still working on newer and newer parts of the series. Since then, she has published multiple children’s books and remains an active and widely-read author of children’s and youth literature.
Agnieszka Stelmaszyk is currently working on the next volume of The Archeo Chronicles. She lives with her family in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Opowiadania z morałem [Stories with a Moral], 2007;
Już czytam [I can already read] (a series of 12 stories + 2), 2009, 2016;
Niezwykłe święta Kornelii [The Extraordinary Christmas of Cornelia], 2009, 2015;
Hinkul na bezkociej wyspie [Hinkul on a Catless Island], 2010;
Kroniki Archeo [The Archeo Chronicles] (13 vol.) 2010 – current;
Kto mnie przytuli? [Who Wants to Hug Me?], 2012, 2016, 2017 – current;
Grafit ma kłopoty [Grafit in Trouble], 2013;
Koalicja Szpiegów [The Coalition of Spies] (trilogy), 2013 – current;
Hotel Pod Twarożkiem [The Soft Cheese Hotel], 2014;
Dropsik potrzebuje pomocy [Dropsik Needs Help], 2014;
Biuro śledcze. Tomuś Orkiszek i Partnerzy [The Bureau of Investigation. Tommy Orkiszek and Partners] (7 vol.), 2014 – 2016;
Terra Incognita (trilogy), 2014-2015;
Klub Poszukiwaczy Przygód [The Adventurers’ Club] (5 vol.), 2014-2016;
Odyseusze (trilogy), [The Odysseuses], 2016-2017;
Nieustraszona Babcia Adela i kosmiczna przygoda [The Fearless Grandma Adele and The Cosmic Adventure], 2016;
Opowieści spod czereśni [Stories Under the Cherry Tree], 2016;
Wesołe przypadki kociej gromadki [The Jolly Adventures of the Feline Crew], 2018.
Her books have been translated into Azeri, Czech, Estonian, Lithuanian, Russian, and Ukrainian.
pl.wikipedia.org (accessed: October 30, 2020).
lubimyczytac.pl (accessed: October 30, 2020).
stelmaszyk.fandom.com (accessed: October 30, 2020).
Bio prepared by Marta Pszczolińska, University of Warsaw, email@example.com and Milena Pszczolińska, University of St Andrews, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sequels, Prequels and Spin-offs
Kroniki Archeo: Przepowiednia Synów Słońca (Book 7) [The Archeo Chronicles: The Prophecy of the Sons of the Sun].
Kroniki Archeo: Komnata szeptów (Book 9) [The Archeo Chronicles: The Chamber of Whispers].
Kroniki Archeo [The Archeo Chronicles] is a series of children’s novels, in which children of a Polish and a British couple: Anna Ostrowska and Bartek Ostrowski along with Mary Jane and twins, Jim and Martin, Gardner and their friends solve mysteries associated with mythology, history, archeology, ancient cultures and eventually make consequential discoveries. (See The Treasure of the Atlanteans in the database).
In Jason’s Code, a tomb of a Celtic princess is discovered; the owner of the land where the tomb is situated finds a mirror adorned with symbols. Meanwhile, the children and their parents are going to Paris to celebrate the engagement of Miss Ophelia, the babysitter and a friend of the family. Once they arrive in Paris, they become implicated in a series of intrigues and unexpected events. The children come across a book about druids with a side note "Break Jason’s code. Golden Fleece will be the prize", which sparks their interest. Then they uncover a secret passage behind a bookcase which leads to a hidden part of the house, and from there to the attic, where a mysterious druid lives in an alchemic workshop. At the same time, Miss Ophelia finds documents in a suitcase swapped at the airport; the documents contain a note: "find the druid, he knows the code to access the treasure". As the result of an intrigue, she is arrested on the charge of stealing a Celtic figurine from the Louvre. To get her released, the rest of the family goes to Normandy to obtain a mysterious potion, which eventually allows them to solve the riddle.
A subplot reveals the story of a Celtic princess, who died on the day of her wedding. According to a legend she was to receive an extraordinary gift from her fiancé, a Roman centurion named Antony. It was rumoured to be the Golden Fleece, and it became the cause of her death. Antony apparently received it from a beautiful yet cruel sorceress Medea, who soaked the dress of the bride in poison. The Roman hid the Golden Fleece in the tomb of his beloved, leaving a coded clue indicating the hiding place. The children discover a bas-relief on the arch of Tiberius in Orange, depicting the ship Argo and Jason himself. In the underground of the local amphitheater, they find a chest with the precious reward inside. Unfortunately, the Golden Fleece loses its glow after the chest is open and disintegrates, either from exposure to the air or from Medea’s touch.
Jason’s Code is part of an adventure series full of references to Antiquity, as the characters solve mysteries which usually need mythological, historical, and cultural knowledge. The references are evident on two levels. First – the storyline, and second – a parallel text, presented in informative illustrated boxes refer to names, places or concepts appearing in the main text.
The story centers on the myth of Jason and the Golden Fleece, about which readers can learn from a parallel boxed text. The idea to incorporate the story of the myth into a 21st-century adventure is implemented through the subplot of the unfortunate Celtic princess buried in a tomb, an additional legend, not known in Classical Antiquity. The mythical sorceress, Medea, was allegedly the cause of the princess’ tragic and premature death. According to Diodorus Siculus’ version of the Greek myth about Medea, the sorceress was abandoned by Jason for a more opportune marriage, and in revenge, she poisoned the dress for the new bride, Glauce, daughter of Creon, causing her to die in flames. In Jason’s Code, the story returns with a jealous Medea poisoning the garment of her former lover’s bride-to-be and causes her death. The readers immediately guess that the character of Medea Cassidy, the Interpol agent, who appears at unexpected moments and places, bringing with her a sinister aura, must be somehow connected to the mythical sorceress. The readers cannot be sure whether Medea Cassidy works in tandem with the authorities or for her own obscure ends, including magic.
Another famous incident in the myth of the Golden Fleece is featured in Jason’s Code: in a lighthouse, the children find a pouch full of teeth along with a note saying that at the full moon, in a circle of menhirs, dragon fighters will come back to life. And so it happens – they plant the teeth, which sprout into soldiers, just as it happened in the case of Jason in Colchis and the myth of Cadmus. The dragon warriors fight between themselves and finally perish, like their mythical predecessors. This incident seems to have been introduced into the plot as a way of even more firmly tying the story to the Greek myth, but also to add lively action to the, at times, slow moving plot.
Illustrator: Paweł Zaręba