By Adrian Dawson
Published in 2011 by Last Passage
Available in paperback from Amazon £9.99 or kindle £5.74
I’ve read a review for this whereby the author’s style was likened to Dan Brown, I can see where that comment has come from. Yes this story reads very like a Dan Brown story – ancient religious artifact hidden for centuries and found using a ancient code concealed in paintings – but with one significant difference; Dan Brown stories never had time travel. I will admit this story took a while to get into. It is a mishmash of genre’s, you have a thriller, a procedural and science fiction; they tend to pull you in different directions for the first few chapters. But after that they settle down.
There are two stories running side by side, one set in 2011, and one that starts there but then jump ahead thirty odd years. It is from this future timeline that the science fiction – and time travel – elements come into play.
I wasn’t wholly enamored of Nick Lambert – the lead detective; if the story had been set in the 1950s he wouldn’t have seemed so out of place. His first person narrative smacked of Sam Spade by way of Mike Hammer, and his constantly angry outlook seemed to have no redeeming features. But as the story progressed, and you got to learn why Nick was in the place he now was; you began to feel for him.
The pace is fairly frantic – in the 2011 timeline – and with little let up you go from the initial investigation; into a murder, to investigating a relic thousands of years old. The future timeline has a steadier pace to start, but once that story begins to interact with events in 2011 that to speeds up.
The characters are well drawn and are there for a reason, not just set dressing. The idea behind the story is an intriguing one – and one I’m really surprised the aforementioned Mr. Brown hasn’t thought of. But there is one issue I have that – for me – slightly let the story down.
The motivations of one character are so heavily broadcast it spoils a big reveal near the end. I had my suspicions who this character was soon after they were introduced, and as the story went on, chapter by chapter we were drip fed clues. But instead of subtle clues, these were big neon lettered clues, with arrows and a map. It was a shame this side of the story couldn’t have been better handled, because it is a major point the book.
If you like Dan Brown’s books, you will like this one. It has a lot of the same ideas with the addition of science fiction.