By William Dietrich
Harper Collins 2007
I received an email last week from Harper Collins saying I was one of the lucky people picked to read and review The Rosetta Key - the latest novel from William Dietrich - due to be published next month (April 2008). After a bit of research, I discovered that this was a sequel to an earlier novel, so I promptly went out and purchased a copy of the first novel - Napoleon's Pyramids. [William Dietrich Website]
This is the story of Ethan Gage, an American who formerly used to be an assistant to Diplomat Benjamin Franklin while he was in France, during and after the American and French Revolutions. I am not usually a fan of Napoleon and his wars, but this book got me hooked because Napoleon was not the main character.
When Ethan Gage wins a strange medalion during an all-night gambling session in Paris, he doesn't think too much about it, until things start happening around him. Several sinister looking people show too much interest in the medallion, Gage is attacked several times, his young lady for the night is killed over the medallion (for which Gage is accused of murder) and he ends up fleeing for his life. The best course of action appears to be hooking up with Napoleon's army as a savant, ostensibly tagging along in order to study the secrets of the pyramids.
In Egypt, Gage has the chance to see Napoleon capture Alexandria and the battle of Pyramids, as well as the French naval disaster at Battle of the Nile. He is fascinated by the beautiful woman he captures when she was involved in sniping at Napoleon and Gage, and by the pyramids which hint at mathmatical secrets.
Considering that no bodies were ever found in the great pyramid, what if they weren't really grave monuments at all? What if they were somehow keys to the secret of the cosmos? One thing is certain--Napoleon wants to learn the secrets, to become the next Alexander. Gage and the woman start searching for the Book of Thoth. In Egyptian mythology, Thoth was the god of wisdom, time, writing, magic and the moon. The Book of Thoth was reputed to be a book of very powerful knowledge.
If you want to read a book that is full of history, mystery, Indiana Jones type adventures and a whole lot of fun, you have to read this book - and the sequel.