Monday, November 28, 2011
Review: The Temple Mount Code by Charles Brokaw
Paperback, 496 pages Published July 7th 2011 by Penguin (first published June 23rd 2011)
ISBN: 0141047607 (ISBN13: 9780141047607)
series : Thomas Lourds #3
From the publisher:
An old friend summons dashing linguistics professor Thomas Lourds to Jerusalem to examine an ancient text. But Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also wants the same document. Khamenei and many others believe that the book contains a secret that will allow its owner to rule all of Islam and wage a Global Jihad the likes of which has never been seen before.
Arriving in Jerusalem, Lourds discovers that his friend has been murdered and his apartment ransacked. With the help of Miriam Abata, a beautiful Iranian-American Jewish graduate student, he races against the clock to seek the dangerous document: Lourds seeks to save civilization while his enemies hope to destroy it.
Continuing the New York Times bestselling series that includes The Atlantis Code and The Lucifer Code, The Temple Mount Code will appeal to readers interested in history and treasure hunting in the Holy Land and is perfect for fans of Dan Brown, Brad Meltzer, James Rollins, and Steve Berry.
My thoughts: In his latest book, Brokaw pens a complex plot into an intriguing thriller. From several different locations, the reader is methodically introduced to numerous characters. I found it a bit overwhelming at first until I got them all straight in my head as to who was who, why they desperately wanted to find the book and the scroll and to what lengths they would go to get it.
Key players: Thomas Lourds: Harvard linguistics professor and discoverer of ancient artifacts and civilizations. Lourds is extremely intelligent and likeable even though he has quite the ego and a penchant for women. At least he is honest with the women that his work is his life and it will always come first. Lourds is a good man to have as a friend; he's loyal, dedicated and would do all in his power to help out a friend. He wants to finish what his friend Lev started; decipher the found document and search for the book and scroll to keep it from falling into the hands of the wrong people. Several of those people include:
The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: supreme leader of Iran, wants to find the book and scroll in order to unite the entire Muslim world and wage Jihad upon all the unbelievers. With his fervent sense of religion and growing stockpile of nuclear weapons, he is prepared to use anyone and do anything to achieve his goals. Nothing escapes his notice. Two of his worst accomplices are:
Klaus Von Volker: one of the most despicable characters in the book. He's one of the leaders of the Austrian People's Party and uses his position to supply Iran with weapons. What fuels his unlimited ambition are greed and power. He has no use for religion and doesn't believe in anything but power. He wants the Ayatollah to succeed because a united Muslim front would mean the end for Israel. He wants Austria and Germany to be united in an anti-semitic state with him at the head.
Colonel Davari: one of the Ayatollah's henchman sent to trail Lourds and find the book and scroll for Iran. Davari is one man who seems to have no conscience at all and is perfectly willing to abide by the Ayatollah's commands.
Alice Von Volker: Klaus's wife who was a student with Thomas Lourds years ago when they shared a love affair for quite some time. Alice still has warm feelings for Lourds and only loathing for her husband. This makes for some complicated situations.
Muffaraji: reports directly to the House of Saud. He's on the side of those who would do whatever it takes to keep the Ayatollah from obtaining the book and scroll. Muffaraji shows up in some unexpected places but just at the right time.
No one is going to achieve their goals without a lot of violence. They all have eyes and ears on the ground wherever their enemies are and keep themselves apprised of the others' actions. Clashing ideals, overpowering greed and political aspirations on all sides leads to an exciting, action packed story with a few twists along the way.
This is my introduction to a Charles Brokaw effort and it definitely won't be the last. I liked his style of writing and how the characters were developed to the extent that I felt I knew them well. One thing I greatly appreciated in the story was the fact that Brokaw did not feel the need to use expletives every third word. He just tells a good story. Sometimes I've found these adventure/thrillers have characters that can't speak without swearing. I also liked the sense of place, described so well it made me feel as if I were right there along with the characters and all the action.
Since this is a work of fiction, some suspension of disbelief is necessary and I'm okay with that as long as a story is well plotted. This one fits the bill entirely. The publisher mentions Steve Berry in the blurb. I've read and enjoyed every Steve Berry book written to date and think The Temple Mount Code is actually better plotted and developed. TBG agrees and liked it as much as I did. 4*
Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Tor/Forge Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.