"Oehler delivers a fusion of mainstream thriller and historical fiction, reminiscent of The Da Vinci Code."– Kirkus Reviews
Oehler (Aphrodesia, 2012) delivers a fusion of mainstream thriller and historical fiction, reminiscent of The Da Vinci Code.
This engaging thriller’s narrative intertwines two distinct storylines. The first thread chronicles the last days of Queen Tiye, wife of Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III, as she prepares her secret burial chamber in her ancestral homeland of Nubia. Tiye, a devoted worshipper of the sun god Aten and an architect of “one of the greatest revolutions in history,” is not only preparing herself and her youngest son, Tutankhamen, for their deaths, but also their glorious resurrections. The second thread follows Rika Teferi, a former soldier in Eritrea’s bloody war for independence from Ethiopia now doing doctoral research as a scholar at the Cairo Museum, as she attempts to translate Tiye’s final message to Tutankhamen. A fateful accident, involving a cup of tea spilled on an invaluable papyrus by American scientist David Chamberlain, leads them both to a discovery that could change the course of history—and possibly cost them their lives. The novel is powered by intriguing scientific speculation, breathtaking locales, vivid description and references to Egyptian mythology. But while the plot is impressively knotty, the characters well-developed and the action virtually nonstop, some aspects of the story may strike readers as a bit contrived: The romantic relationship between Teferi and Chamberlain, for example, seems forced, and some twists at the end of the novel strain the boundaries of believability. That said, readers who enjoy intelligent, pedal-to-the-metal thrillers will find this archaeological escapade highly satisfying.
Fast and fun, if slightly flawed, literary escapism.
A sensually evocative thriller that satisfies and arouses.
Eric Foster is one of the most perceptive and creative “noses” in the perfume industry. His future looks and smells bright. While a student at the most prestigious perfume academy in France, Eric recreates, against the admonishments of his professor, a long-lost fragrance said to have been used by the queen of Sheba to lure a reluctant King Solomon to her bed. This aphrodisiacal perfume, Balquees, contains a rare ingredient, the acquisition of which gets Eric expelled. Cast out by his mentors and abandoning his project, Eric rebuilds his life in New York by moonlighting as a scent-based forensics consultant (paired with his trusty three-legged bloodhound, Daisy) to the NYPD. When a counterfeit version of Balquees, called SF, begins to wreak havoc by driving would-be lovers to kill each other in extreme bouts of lust, the police have an obvious suspect. Eric, who would never hurt anyone (or produce such an inferior product), races to clear his name and discovers that his friends and colleagues may not be as professional—or innocent—as they appear. Working side by side with the sardonic, emotionally wounded forensics expert Tanya, Eric is thrown into a series of increasingly violent incidents, the culmination of which forces him to face his disgraced past. Oehler is marvelously versed in the intricacies of perfume manufacturing and history; luckily for the reader, he’s also a compelling writer. In particular, the convincing sex scenes flow with the right balance of graphic language and tastefulness. Readers will come away with a new appreciation for all those sparkling bottles of fragrance and maybe even an understanding for their extraordinary price tags.
A brilliant, engaging twist on the traditional crime novel.