Thursday, January 20, 2011

THE ATLANTIS CODE by Charles Brokaw

Publisher: Forge
Date published: November 2009
ISBN: 978-0765354358
Action Adventure
Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained by library

Thomas Lourds is invited to Egypt for an appearance on a television show about Atlantis. In the midst of testing his skills as a world renowned linguist a gang of thugs break in, guns blazing and steal what, on the surface, appears to be a simple bell. Thomas is intrigued. Why would these men want the simple instrument? More so, he is confronted with a language he’s never encountered. Before he can begin to sort out what he did see on the bell, another ancient instrument, a cymbal is taken from an old friend in Russia. With killers on his trail, Thomas, along with his television producer, cameraman and Russian police officer begin a trek across Europe in search of not only the missing artifacts, but also what they soon learn are three other instruments, including a flute and a drum. Dodging bullets, mad men who will stop at nothing to achieve their ends, Thomas and company are struggling to stay one step ahead. The people behind the thefts and killings aren’t your ordinary, everyday thieves and murderers. They are among the last people Thomas expects to find committing such acts. Underlying Thomas’ quest is his hope that somehow, some day he will find the missing Alexandrian library. Bit by bit he discovers that what started out as a simple linguistic exercise in deciphering the bell turns out to be the search for Atlantis. In Cadiz Spain it all comes together and at the same time, falls apart. Did the worlds of Atlantis, Alexandria and the truth about the Garden of Eden all happen in one place now buried beneath the sea?

I’m a sucker for books on or about Atlantis. It is a subject that has fascinated me since childhood. What happened to the mysterious island, to its people, to all the knowledge housed there? So when I saw Charles’ Brokaw’s THE ATLANTIS CODE I had to pick it up and dig right in. I was sadly disappointed. While the premise of the story is intriguing and the various theoretical intersects are definitely different, I felt little but frustration while reading the story. Part of that is because of the author’s writing style. He uses an inordinate amount of omniscient point of view, i.e., an unseen narrator telling us what the characters see, feel, hear, smell and do. Every time he did it, which was quite often, it pulled me right out of the story. We know Thomas is sexy because we are told, repeatedly, that women find him attractive. Promiscuous doesn’t begin to cover what we are told of Thomas’ sexual past, present and his hoped for future. I never did warm up to Leslie, the producer and while her camera man, Gary (who I liked immensely) was obviously British, I never knew for sure if Leslie was or wasn’t. Not that it mattered; she seemed more interested in getting Thomas into bed on a regular basis than actually filming her show. Despite their travels to various exciting locales, not once did she ask Gary to get it on tape. I felt for Natasha, the Russian police officer, but more often than not she came across as a caricature than a well-developed character. It’s sad because the story presented so much possibility.

There were parts where the Thomas character explains things to the others that I found fascinating because they seemed to be based in fact. In a sense there was a bit of a free education in his scenes. I wondered more than once was Thomas Lourdes the embodiment of who Mr. Brokaw wanted to be. While I didn’t find Thomas all that interesting, Gary was fascinating, intelligent and more the type of man I’d like to meet.

I did pick up book two of this series, THE LUCIFER CODE because I have seen enough first books by debut authors who fall short of the mark the first time out but who come back with a second, exciting and enjoyable read.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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