American spy hero Tristan Boumann uncovers the lost tomb of Cleopatra in this stand-alone murder mystery in Vinc3nt’s Pyramider spy-fi trilogy.
In 2010, after the assassination of an American archaeologist, Sen. Jack Ranstead calls on his friend Tristan Boumann to travel to Cairo to conduct an investigation. Wanting to avoid international tension and interference with Egypt’s tourist trade, Ranstead instructs Boumann to “look like you’re conducting an investigation, file a generic report, and get out of the way, so it can all blow over.” Boumann has other ideas when he arrives at the American Embassy and, after reviewing the compound’s security tapes, concludes the murder was an “inside job.” As Boumann pokes around for clues, he learns that the murder victim was working on an archaeological dig at an ancient temple known as Taposiris Magna while searching for the lost tomb of Cleopatra. The site also happens to be where Allied forces won a decisive battle at El Alamein in 1942 thanks to new Sherman tanks provided by the Americans. Boumann learns that during the war, the OSS (predecessor of the CIA) assigned Balthazar Flanders to the region to teach the Brits how to operate the tanks. When Boumann learns that Flanders’ dog tags were recently found at the dig site, he deduces that the OSS operative was pilfering Egyptian antiquities during the war and that his grandson Prescott may have other artifacts from Cleopatra’s tomb. From here, the plot goes astray as it tries to find ways to solve the murder and locate Cleopatra’s tomb. In an explosive ending that’s far from foreshadowed, the sarcophagus containing Cleopatra’s mummy shows up in an unexpected place. Bewildered readers won’t see it coming. While Vinc3nt’s solid prose reflects a considerable command of geography, history, and international affairs, it relies too heavily on dialogue. In the end, the plot twist is too crazy for a simmering story that never boils.
Archaeological mystery and murder wandering in a desert of dialogue.