Friday, March 28, 2008

The Venetian Betrayal By Steve Berry

Steve Berry takes us on a roller coaster adventure throughout Europe and Asia with the final destination - the tomb of Alexander the Great. Rare manuscripts, ancient parchments enhanced by x-ray technology, esoteric clues including symbols on medallions struck during Alexander The Great’s time provide the means of finding the elusive final burial place. The story has a lot of interesting history about Alexander’s time, the countries he conquered, the people he surrounded himself with and gives insight into the vision of this remarkable man.
There is a strong subplot relating to a notorious woman, leader of a new and powerful nation created by combining former Soviet nations into "The Central Asian Federation". The woman, Zorina Zovastina who is the Supreme Minister of the former countries of Kazakhstan, Uzebekistan, and Turkmenistan has a plan to conquer more land using biological weapons she secretly developed.
Another subplot relates back to Alexander’s personal physician who supposedly had a "miracle potion" that according to history was able to cure certain diseases. Alexander was supposed to have killed the man in anger because he failed to use the cure on Alexander’s closest advisor and lover, Hephaestion. A major character in the novel who is an associate of Zorina has discovered the source but has withheld the cure from the world preferring to wait until Zorina’s plans come to fruition.
Exciting climax I, really, enjoy Steve Berry novels - be sure to read his notes where he separates fact from fiction.

Dear Jane Austin By Patrice Hannon

(A Heroines guide to Life and Love)
Another Austen enthusiast; a PHD in English literature who teaches, among other things, Austin novels has written a funny novella in the form of an advice column where ladies write letters to Jane Austen and the responses parallel how Austen heroines would act in similar responses. Victorian responses are interesting and give greater insight into all of the Austen characters both men and women.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Alexandria Link By Steve Berry

I always look forward to this creative and prolific author. His novels are well researched and dripping with intrigue. For centuries, guardians have held and passed on the secret location of the "Library of Alexandria". Each generation, one of the guardians tries to find a person who seeks knowledge and who will use any knowledge he gains from the library to do good for humanity. A cartel of wealthy individuals are looking for the knowledge that will give them control of the middle East and also challenge the three major religions. The information and the documentation is located in the library; there is a race between the good guys and the bad ones to find the library. Good characters some nice puzzles and a great adventure. Also, an interesting idea of the actual location of the Israel of the old testament and some major tinkering of the gospels by the early church leaders.

Steve Berry, Author

Steve Berry is an interesting author; he writes what I call "historical mystery puzzle quests". He is well traveled and does excellent research; he mixes history, fiction and his own invention into great adventures.

"The Amber Room"

An 11 foot square hall walled in Amber; a present from Prussia to Peter the Great in Russia. It disappeared in 1941. A treasure of a treasure hunt and a real thriller; moves fast and was well researched.

"The Romanov Prophecy"

Mystery and history. Can or should Russia return to a monarchy? Is there a living descendant of Nicholas 2nd ? Well written and researched. Intrigue....

""The Third Secret"

The Lady of Fatima passed on a message to three peasant girls that contained three secrets, the third of which was supposed to have considerable bearing on church doctrine and it was suppressed. The novel searches for the third secret.

"The Alexandria Link"

Over the centuries, the guardians of the secrets and the location of the Library of Alexandria have chosen a successor to hold the secrets. Various people are given esoteric clues and are severely tested as they attempt to prove their worth and find the fabled library.

Berry puts together some thought provoking tales. I am surprised that he is not as well known as Dan Brown, he should be.

Parker 3/2008

This is Parker Alan; Grandson, twelve years old, a reader and a scholar. I hope to add some of his book reviews and comments very soon.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Blasphemy By Douglas Preston

A Nobel prize winner and self acclaimed "smartest man in the world" with an ego to match, puts together an elite group of scientists to create the world’s largest supercollider and most powerful computer in an attempt to recreate the tremendous energy conditions that caused the creation of the universe. "The Big Bang Theory".
A Navajo Indian tribe that leased a five hundred square mile table land called Red Mesa with a huge mountain to the Government for millions of dollars of yearly income is beginning to have concerns about the activity on Red Mesa and that the scientists are not treating the sacred land with respect.
A powerful, Washington lobbyist, who received substantial fees from the Indians for helping them get the lease wants more fees so he devises a plan to frighten the Indians into thinking the supercollider project might be closed. He hires an influential, Television and Radio evangelist to get on the airways and talk against the secular government spending forty billion dollars to disprove the book of Genesis and challenge God Almighty himself.
The TV evangelist is in his element; he talks about the "Godless scientists". Evolution, and the "antichrist’. He hires a local preacher to spy on complex in order to get ammunition for his ravings.
The President of the United States was a supporter of the supercollider project and is concerned about delays and lack of communication from the scientists as well as the negative media.
Douglas Preston has taken these and other elements and put together an excellent drama, thriller. It moves fast and while I think the plot got a bit edgy and far fetched, the controversy was enjoyable. Preston brought Wyman Ford, a character from his earlier novel "Tyrannosaur Canyon" into the story; Wyman added a lot.

Good News

The movie "Silk", based on Alessandro Baricco's beautiful erotic novel is available on DVD. Michael Pitt is Herve' Joncour, the French merchant of silkworms who journeys so far from home, to Japan in search of healthy silk worm eggs. The lovely, Keira Knightly plays He'l`ene. View it if you can, you will not be sorry - then, read the book.

Alessandro Baricco has written several other beguiling novels; "Without Blood", "City", and "Ocean Sea", you will be intrigued.