Sunday, September 30, 2012

Masks of the Lost kings

Masks of the Lost Kings

Quoted from GoodReads:
"Following the sudden disappearance of treasure hunter Ben Sanders in Mexico, beautiful archaeologist Suzy da Silva is snatched from the cloistered environs of Oxford University and thrust into a deadly maelstrom of intrigue and discovery. Joining forces with astrophysicist Tom Brooking she crosses four continents, to unlock the dark secrets of Tutankhamun's tomb, the Holy Sepulchre and the mysterious Mayan Temple of Inscriptions to reveal a mysterious truth. Together they risk their lives, pursued by martial assassins and renegade special forces, fighting the forces of evil to discover hidden knowledge so precious that it has lain dormant for over a thousand years..."

Cover Art:  I liked the cover. The image of King Tut's burial mask attracted my attention immediately.  The pyramid and the Inca temple peaked my interest   I would have omitted the woman running or changed the placement to a less prominent area of the cover.  It looked too much like the image used for "Charlie’s Angels" for my taste.  The use of the columns and archway were a perfect frame for the art.

Main Characters:   Suzy da Silva is strong, independent and intelligent. She has all the right attributes of an interesting protagonist.  Readers will like her, but I think more attention to her background story would have added the extra connection that seemed to be lacking.  While I liked her, I didn't feel invested in her story.  Just a little more background into her family, especially her relationship with her Father would have helped me form a stronger connection to her character.  The author provides some information about her background, but I needed a little more to feel invested in Suzy.   Suzy is truly one of a kind.  She has some unique skills that come in pretty handy through the course of the book.  She is definitely not the stereotypical archaeologist!
Tom Brooking is initially the rival researcher and eventually the "love" interest. I enjoyed the way Tom is introduced to Suzy and the reader. Tom seemed pompous and awkward in that first encounter. As the story progresses and Tom appears to be following Suzy, Tom does become a bit more likable.  However, I never felt that Tom's character ever fully evolved from Suzy's first encounter with him.  I needed to see Suzy revise her initial impression of Tom into someone she could care about.  For me, Tom seemed a little lacking in personality.  There were moments that I really liked Tom.  The romantic connection between Tom and Suzy seemed to be an afterthought. Their relationship needed more sexual tension and more romance.

Overall, these are minor criticisms.  Both characters are interesting and well written.

Writing Style:   The author, Tom Bane writes with a relaxed style that is easy to read and flows well.  I loved the illustrations and pictures that Tom included within the text.  It helped the reader follow some complicated concepts that were a part of integral to the plot. I found myself flipping back to the illustrations frequently as a reference.  The information in the author’s note at the end of the book also included more information that I found helpful and interesting.  Occasionally, I noticed a change in the writing style, which was a minor distraction.  (See the first paragraph in Chapter 28.)  The flowery analogies don't compliment the plot and seem forced.

Plot:  This is one of the most complicated plots I have read.  It is full of twists and turns.  I was never sure who the “bad guys” were.  The amount of research and information contained in this book is truly amazing.  Bane weaves popular archaeology and astronomy concepts into a wild ride that crosses continents.    At times, it did feel a little like a history lesson, but the information is a necessary part of the plot.  This book is best read in uninterrupted periods of time.  I tried to read it in shot increments and found that I needed to backtrack to understand parts of the plot.

Fans of Indiana Jones, Dan Brown's  Da Vinci Code, Mayan history, Egyptology and conspiracy theories will enjoy this book.  

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