- Glenn Cooper
Publisher: UK - Arrow BooksAbbey of Ruac, rural France: A medieval script is discovered hidden behind an antique bookcase. Badly damaged, it is sent to Paris for restoration, and there literary historian Hugo Pineau begins to read the startling fourteenth-century text. Within its pages lies a fanciful tale of a painted cave and the secrets it contains – and a rudimentary map showing its position close to the abbey. Intrigued, Hugo enlists the help of archaeologist Luc Simard and the two men go exploring. When they discover a vast network of prehistoric caves, buried deep within the cliffs, they realise that they’ve stumbled across something extraordinary. And at the very core of the labyrinth lies the most astonishing chamber of all, just as the manuscript chronicled. Aware of the significance of their discovery, they set up camp with a team of experts, determined to bring their find to the world. But as they begin to unlock the ancient secrets the cavern holds, they find themselves at the centre of a dangerous game. One ‘accidental’ death leads to another.And it seems that someone will stop at nothing to protect the enigma of the tenth chamber …
Who doesn’t like a bit of mystery surrounding ancient ruins? And a conspiracy to keep the secret hidden? I certainly do. Some adventure, a little action and the ability to solve thousand year old in minutes when under life-threatening pressure - that’s what I usually expect from these types of reads and I enjoy the ride. This time however I got a university professor who actually acts like a university professor rather than Indiana Jones – which might have been refreshing if he actually did anything! Instead he wanders around, not even aware of what is happening until the very end. Even his relationship with a female expert didn’t really congeal for me and felt unnecessary.
However, Glenn Cooper’s writing was elegant and flowed beautifully which kept me turning the pages to the very end. The flashbacks to the cave’s founding and first discovery were fantastic glimpses into what had happened and added to the mystery. And the central mystery itself? That I liked – it wasn’t based on any myths or legends so hadn’t been covered before – some originality which I appreciated. Overall, I liked the idea, loved the history, thought the writing was good, but just didn’t like the main character and his lack of ability to drive the story. And unfortunately it let the whole book down for me.
Recommended for fans of Scott Mariani and Dan Brown. 6 out of 10.