On the Bookshelf...


David Gibbins

Marine archaeologist Jack Howard has made an astounding find in the depths of the Red Sea: proof of a mass suicide by a pharaoh and his army. But what could have driven the most powerful people of their age to hurl themselves to their deaths? What terrible new king, revered as a new god, came to take their place? Howard’s search leads back through the ages to the discovery of the vault of Tutankhamun in 1928, the legacy of American adventurers in Egypt, the fate of General Gordon’s doomed garrison in Khartoum—and a long-shrouded catastrophe that saw a unit of Gordon’s would-be rescuers swallowed by a mysterious Nile whirlpool. Between the story told by a crazed survivor of that horror, a lost labyrinth, and the truth behind a three-thousand-year-old conflict, Howard is on the verge of a discovery that will change history—for good, for evil, and for the future of all humankind.

It's a long time since I've read a novel from the Jack Howard series. I was hooked on the series when Atlantis came out. It seemed a good time to pick up the series when I saw this book in a second hand (pre-loved) bookshop in Barnsley. Would I be once again disappointed with picking up a series after a few years? Well, no, although this one was a bit different to the others.

Jack Howard finds a plaque in a sunken ship in the Mediterranean Sea. It ties in with a friend's archaeological dig in Egypt, where he is pushed into a historical mystery involving General Gordon and Khartoum. It's a story told in half through a survivor of Gordons campaign in Sudan. One that holds answers to an Egyptian mystery.

I quite liked the way the story of the past is told in full. There's a lot to digest in the story and at times you find yourself flitting back the pages to sort out some of the timelines. The description of the past is very well done. At times you can smell the camels and stench of the Nile. The story keeps flipping through the two eras before the conclusion of the book. It's obvious the story will be continued in the next book and so the ending feels a little flat but doesn't detract from the overall story.

A solid read but maybe only for those who've invested in the Jack Howard series.

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Review by
AJ Steel
April 13, 2023

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