Tuesday, October 9, 2007

2 Quick Book Reviews

We have just had our Thanksgiving Holiday weekend here in Canada. And while I would have preferred to read a serious challenge book, a three day weekend is not the time for that. Not with a 5 year old to keep occupied and stress free for 3 days. So I settled for a couple of fiction novels sitting on my TBR pile, and was pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed both books.

For those of you who have read any of the Pendergast novels, this one was delicious. It was the last in the Diogenes trilogy, and truth be told, I have not read the two earlier books. However I did read Relic, Reliquary and the Cabinet of Curiousities, a long time ago. So I was vaguely familiar with Aloysius Pendergast and his evil brother.

In this book we FINALLY find out exactly why Diogenes hates his brother so much, and why Aloysius feels he must stop his brother at all costs. At the end of the last book, Aloysius was convicted and imprisoned for a number of murders.

The Museum of Natural History in New York City (scene of the earlier novel RELIC) is again the centre for this novel. In the previous book of this trilogy, Diogenes had stolen the Museum's priceless Diamond collection. In this novel, he returns the diamonds to the museum - in an altered state of being. The Museum tries to keep this under wraps but word leaks out. So the Museum decides to throw a party - to take the attention off all the bad events. They reopen the Tomb of Senef, an old tomb exhibition that was closed down in the 1930's when the 81st Street subway station was built. However the killings continue.

In the end it becomes a race to find out if Diogenes can once again foil his brother, or if Aloysius can finally destroy Diogenes.

This was an exciting book. I read it in 12 hours - couldn't put it down. Fortunately it was easy to read while watching my son playing at the local park for most of the day, but having to swipe at annoying flying mosquitos and bugs all day was not funny. The extreme weather (got to 32 degrees on Monday - a new High record for Thanksgiving weekend) is doing some very nasty things.

Rare Earth was also a very exciting book. I'd vaguely heard of Michael Asher. His wife is Mariantonietta Peru, whom I have definitely heard about. She is a very well known photographer - mostly in and around the Sahara Desert. Michael is a desert explorer. He runs desert tours and expeditions and has written several novels - all set in and around the Sahara.

This book is about Dan Truman, an archaeologist who is sent to The Northern Sudan to find the location of a deposit of Rare Earth - a mixture of palladium, platinum and other valuable metals. Trumans job is to get a contract signed by the local tribal chief, so that the Mining company can start digging up the earth. He also has to do this without the Sudanese government finding out, because government bureacracy is a nightmare.

Dan has a 2 year gap in his memory. He has no family. In his dreams there is a beautiful tribal girl who is a seer, a prophetess. He knows karate and uses it to keep himself and others safe. In the desert, Dan meets the Sanghara tribe, and works to become one of them. In doing so he displays honesty, courage, loyalty, and integrity. These are what the tribe values, above anything else. He even passes the dangerous tribal initiation ceremony so that he can be accepted a member of the tribe. His life is now in the desert.

And while Dan is endearing himself to the Sanghara tribe, the Mining companies are gathering in the desert to plunder the rare earth. Dan is the one person who can stop them.

No comments: