In this debut thriller, a group of misfit Egyptologists embarks on a quest to investigate a stolen artifact.
Ricky Atlas, Iggy Forsythe and Frank Hammond were best friends and rising stars in the elite world of Egyptology—until they got caught trying to steal an Egyptian artifact and effectively ruined their careers. Each reacted to the fallout in his own way: Ricky become an antiquities thief, Iggy succumbed to a low-paying part-time teaching gig and Frank let his dreamy imagination take over so completely that he was hospitalized in a mental institution. However, when Ricky nearly dies in Yemen while on a quest to recover both halves of the fabled King Solomon’s Wand, the friends are soon reunited. Ricky returns to the United States to consult with Iggy and discovers that the wand might be more magical than they even imagined. Meanwhile, Frank escapes from his institution and wanders west to meet Annie, a fast food chain manager with a Museum of Seraphs set up in her backyard in the shadow of Montezuma’s Castle. Annie’s fascination with Aztec culture becomes intertwined with Frank’s obsession with ancient Egypt. The novel’s characters all sparkle with distinct personalities, and the bond between Annie and Frank is engaging. Unfortunately, the story’s pacing is uneven. The bulk of the story drags at times, while the ending comes off as rushed. The timeline also feels off; when the parallel plotlines finally meet up, it seems far too quick and easy. That said, the novel does have moments of true ingenuity and will appeal to readers interested in ancient cultures and their mythologies.
An engaging, if uneven, adventure tale.