Tuesday, February 14, 2012
This thriller has two plot lines that come together in the end. In the first, an archeologist, Julia Kerrigan working in a French cave discovers ancient skulls that have had crude brain surgery performed prior to death. She shares the discovery with the group leader and soon enough he is dead at the hand of a mysterious Asian woman. Her mentor is also killed soon after in a particularly violent manner. Kerrigan makes the connection with a similar discovery in Cambodia and for inexplicable reasons (other than to advance the plot) follows the mystery to Cambodia with a scary stop in one of the Russian republics. In Southeast Asia a photojournalist, Jake Thurby takes an assignment to uncover the mysteries of the Plain of Jars in Cambodia. He accompanies a beautiful Cambodian lawyer trying to uncover truths about the origins of the genocide of the Pol Pot era in Cambodia. Thurby and the lawyer find living evidence of Cambodians who had brain surgery performed in an attempt to produce an evil race of warriors without conscience. Let me stop right now with the plot summary because it will only sound more farfetched. Suffice to say that the two storylines come together, the principals make some poor choices, both government officials and bad guys end up in pursuit and a unique ending is provided.
First off let me say that fantasy thriller is not a genre I read much of so I am probably not the best person to review this. It is a well written story with some unique parts. The storyline deals with two famous archeological finds – the Plain of Jars in Cambodia and the Hands of Gargas in France – that are far from well trod ground in thriller land. The characters are forever deciding to linger somewhere just a moment too long and have about six close escapes from the pursuers; to me it got to be quite annoying. The end of the story was a way too long with dumps of sociology and religious radicalism that went on for pages. I think this book could have been quite good with better editing - the plot line was unique, the writing quite competent, but the character development was lacking and the denouement way too long. Don’t think I’ll read another by this author.
I read a copy of this book provided by the publisher.