Sunday, 13 September 2015

Some things are better off staying lost

To be published on 3 November 2015.

In 930 CE, a revered group of scholars pen the first sanctioned Bible, planting the seed from which other major religions will grow.  But in 1953, half the manuscript goes missing while being transported from Syria.  Around the dame time, in the foothills of the Dead Sea, an ancient scroll is discovered - and promptly stolen.  Six decades later, both parchments stand at the heart of a geopolitical battle between foreign governments and radical extremists, threatening the lives of millions.  With the American homeland under siege, the president turns to a team of uniquely trained covert operatives including FBI profiler Karen Vail, Special Forces veteran Hector DeSantos, and FBI terrorism expert Aaron Uziel.  Their mission:  Find the stolen documents and capture - or kill - those responsible for unleashing a coordinated and unprecedented attack on US soil.  Set in DC, New York, Paris, England, and Israel, The Lost Codex has been called "a masterwork of international suspense" and "an outstanding novel" y Douglas Preston

I love books that are based on fact and yet make a fictional book based on that fact and this is one of the many reasons I love authors like Steve Berry and Andy McDermott; and now this author.

As other books have reawakened my interest in the Templars for example, this book is re-awakening my interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Israeli/Palestinian war.

Karen Vail is a psychologist with the BAU (another plus as far as this reader is concerned) although in this book she took a lesser role behind Aaron Uziel and Hector DeSantos.  The characters are well rounded and the camaraderie between all three is rather refreshing and well written.  What one lacks one of the others has in spades and makes for a good group dynamic.  When they are undertaking a mission off the books they need to rely on their previous experiences, their friendships and contacts but most of all they need to rely on their training and wits.

The book started out reasonably well but then stalled.  This was because of the complex nature of the plot, a few things needed to be explained before the plot took off which did slow the start down.  However, once that was under our belts the pace sped up, too you through the wringer and did not let up until the last sentence.  Yet everything was not plain sailing for the team as they faced some operational problems.  There were just enough red herrings to keep up the suspense and the reader interested.

For action junkies there is loads of it; as we race around the world following the protagonists and the heroes as they try to save the day.  The descriptions of all these countries were so real one felt as though you were actually there (the descriptions of Jerusalem brought back memories of a school trip 33 years ago!)

I have not read any of the previous novels in this series and although references were made to previous operations they were not over done nor did they detract from this story.  However, what did annoy this reader were the constant references to a London operation which did my head in. 

This is my first novel by this author but it certainly will not be the last.  If you want a book that is well researched and explains some of the tensions in the Middle East (and living in Egypt I can certainly say that he has the Arab mind set down pat).  It also deals with the motivations behind Islamic extremists.  Even if these things are not your normal bag but you love fact based fiction you cannot go far wrong with this novel

Full Disclosure: I received a free copy from Netgalley for an honest review.

I rated this 5 stars on Netgalley and 'I loved it' on Amazon (5 stars) and Goodreads (4 stars).

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