Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Hunt for Atlantis by Andy McDermott


Archaeologist Nina Wilde believes she knows how to find the lost civilisation of Atlantis. She wants to prove her theory. But the sinister Giovanni Qobras wants her dead!

Accompanied by beautiful heiress Kari Frost and ex-SAS bodyguard Eddie Chase, Nina begins a breakneck race around the world to find the clues that will lead to the legendary city, pursued at every step by the agents of the mysterious - and murderous - Brotherhood of Selasphoros. For Atlantis holds a secret hidden for over 11,000 years that in the wrong hands could destroy civilisation as we know it...

Ah! A quest novel. I spotted this and the more recently released The tomb of Hercules in my local Waterstones in Bromley and had to have it. So I shelled out the giftcard, came home and read The Hunt for Atlantis in one long sitting.

I thoroughly enjoyed it – the novel is well paced and the action is very cinematic and the book cracks along at a rapid-fire pace. It is Andy’s first novel, as far as I can tell and I have to admit that it is a pretty competent one.

The author has paid his dues and did his research quite well, hauling out bits of Plato and the legends of Solon. You do suspend your disblief because the fun is such well, fun. The action tears through Nepal, South America and Norway.
Nina Wilde’s character is slightly naive and I get the impression that for all her travels and her research, she’s a bit sheltered and a bit of a dizzy mare. Eddie Chase as the ex-SAS bodyguard is quite funny as he only knows one way: his way. The banter is kept light and fun with the information being parcelled out quite liberally but it is kept interesting.

The bad guys, the Brotherhood of Selasphorus, is part of the big reveal in the novel. It brings up the question of: how many wrongs make a right? And when do you step over that sometimes very fine line between right and wrong?

For a first novel this cracks along at a good adventure pace and I’d recommend it for fans of quest / adventure novels. I had good fun reading it. The author has clearly worked hard on his plotting and the scenes and set pieces give you the impression you've walked in at just the right time to get the most bang for your buck.

The writing is solid and you can tell the author has a passion for his two main characters. I've already started on the second novel and I am keen to see where their relationship goes. I am thinking it may not end well, but secretly I am a romantic at heart - don't tell anyone - and I'm hoping that the obvious class and upbringing problems between Eddie and Nina will not become an issue. But then, the reason for setting the characters up the way he has, you can tell that there is a lot more in store for them...

Ahem. Back to the review and not ruminations on the characters personal lives - apologies - I thoroughly enjoyed The Hunt for Atlantis and would recommend it as something to pick up for a long flight or a lazy day by the pool. Or in fact, slouching on the couch during some of the coldest days of the year.

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