GIDEON'S SWORD by Douglas Preston


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A shadowy quasi-governmental organization hires a highly resourceful art thief-turned-physicist to obtain plans for a mysterious weapon in the first book in Preston and Child’s (Fever Dream, 2010, etc.) new series.

Gideon Crew was a successful art thief until his mother, on her death bed, informed him that his father had not been the failure he’d always assumed he was, but was in fact set up to take the blame for the mistakes of his superiors. She urges him to seek revenge. After years of preparation—including getting a job as a physicist at Los Alamos—he enacts his revenge and prepares to devote his newfound free time to fly-fishing. His plans are interrupted by the appearance of a mysterious man in his favorite fishing spot, who offers him a large sum of money to take on a dangerous mission. It seems a secretive organization that does work for the Department of Homeland Security took notice of the work to avenge his father and wants to enlist him to procure the plans to a mysterious weapon being brought to New York by a possible defector from China. As part of his recruitment “pitch,” Crew is informed that he suffers from an incurable disease and has a short time to live. Faced with a dwindling set of options, Crew takes the mission and spends the next several days desperately trying to get his hands on the plans without falling into the clutches of Nodding Crane, a deadly operative sent by the Chinese to retrieve the plans—and kill anyone who gets too close to them. No reader expects Preston and Child to let too much realism get in the way of a good story—nor should they—but there are limits, and the authors sometimes exceed them.

While the fun is, for the most part, worth the outlandish coincidences, exceedingly stupid adversaries and/or superhuman feats, it is not worth it by a large margin. Still, Crew is a great character, and this series holds promise.

Pub Date: Feb. 22nd, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-446-56432-8
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2010

Kirkus Interview
Douglas Preston
January 2, 2017

Since the days of conquistador Hernán Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Indigenous tribes speak of ancestors who fled there to escape the Spanish invaders, and they warn that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die. In 1940, swashbuckling journalist Theodore Morde returned from the rainforest with hundreds of artifacts and an electrifying story of having found the Lost City of the Monkey God—but then committed suicide without revealing its location. Three quarters of a century later, bestseller Doug Preston joined a team of scientists on a groundbreaking new quest. In 2012 he climbed aboard a rickety, single-engine plane carrying the machine that would change everything: lidar, a highly advanced, classified technology that could map the terrain under the densest rainforest canopy. In an unexplored valley ringed by steep mountains, that flight revealed the unmistakable image of a sprawling metropolis, tantalizing evidence of not just an undiscovered city but an enigmatic, lost civilization. The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story is his account of the expedition. “A story that moves from thrilling to sobering, fascinating to downright scary—trademark Preston, in other words, and another winner,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >


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