Word that the lost continent of Atlantis may have been found sends a professor, a reporter, a cardinal, a Russian police officer and many others sprinting across the globe.
At the center of this debut thriller stands Thomas Lourds, a Harvard linguistics professor who knows his ancient artifacts. Thomas speaks as if he’s lecturing, but he’s enough of a hunk to set two women sniping at each other as they vie for him. In Egypt with TV reporter Leslie Crane, he discovers an ancient bell with an inscription written in a language he can’t decipher. During an interview with Leslie, terrorists break onto the set, murder a producer and make off with the bell. It winds up with Stefano Murani, a cardinal at the Vatican desperate to overthrow the Pope. The bell, Stefano believes, is one of five ancient instruments from Atlantis that in concert hold the power to destroy the world. If he controls the instruments, he rules the world. Meanwhile in Russia, someone stalks and kills archeologist Yuliya Hapaev, an acquaintance of Thomas, as she examines an ancient cymbal inscribed with mysterious writing. Her sister Natashya, a tough police inspector with the body of an Amazon and the face of a model, determines to avenge Yuliya’s death and teams with Thomas after he arrives in Moscow to read the archeologist’s notes about the instrument. Leslie follows, sensing the story of the century when it appears that the instruments come from a dig in Cádiz where archeologists may be about to uncover Atlantis. After several narrow escapes and some nights with both Leslie and Natashya, Thomas arrives in Cádiz to learn the meaning of the artifacts. Like the code in a certain mega-bestseller about the work of an Italian artist, this involves a major revision to one of the Bible’s central stories.
Despite the lumbering pace, by-the-numbers descriptions and a surfeit of chase scenes, Brokaw holds readers until the last stone is turned.