The Forbidden Tomb, by Chris Kuzneski, is an all action adventure thriller that takes the ancient mysteries, humour and daring of Indiana Jones and combines them with the futuristic gadgetary of Mission Impossible. Instead of one intrepid hero there is a team, each member of which possesses a plethora of implausible skills. Money is no object as shady overlords with limitless wealth bankroll the mercenaries to satisfy their own secretive desires.
I enjoy complex thrillers and appreciate well researched history but too much trampling on other cultures grates. If chick lit is designed to appeal to women who want to escape into an easy, feel good romance then this style of story seems to be aimed at the men who wish to live out their dreams of being some sort of action hero. There is certainly plenty of action.
Set in the middle east the team go in search of Alexander the Great’s tomb. Armed with newly discovered maps they search underground tunnels and uncover secrets in hieroglyphs that have remained hidden for centuries. They also unleash the wrath of a secretive organisation tasked with protecting the tomb. Throughout the story an American life is worth risking everything for whilst foreigners dying in their hundreds if not thousands is seen as collateral damage, unfortunate but not something to lose sleep over. I found that hard to stomach.
It took me some time to get used to the style of writing. The short chapters, clipped sentences and humorous references kept the plot light and moving along despite the challenges and bloodshed. I did not appreciate the ease with which the team justified the invasion and destruction of other ways of life. I suspect that these things are not supposed to be taken too seriously but rather glossed over so as to enjoy the excitement, adventure and unleashing of superior firepower and technology.
Naturally the team had access to every type of technology they required, from weaponry to satellites to experts in particular fields. I wonder why countries go to war when they could just phone up half a dozen or so people and sort out their issues with a few well placed strikes before walking away apparently blameless. I guess I’m taking things too seriously again…
The book is easy to read and the plot is no more implausible than the many other action thrillers from which many popular films are made (a fair few of which are referenced). If you enjoy that type of story then give this one a read. It is slick and neatly put together. It’s just not my sort of thing.
My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Headline.