Sunday, November 8, 2009

Review of the novel The Lost Throne

I was given a copy of The Lost Throne by Chris Kuzneski and asked to review it by the publisher. I don’t usually take time to read fiction (reality is more interesting), but I thought I’d give it a try. Turns out the book is a real page turner even at 500 pages and 70 chapters.

In the beginning of the book two pal ex-special forces guys get a mysterious phone call from St. Petersburg, Russia. A strange man asks for help but before they can respond, he is killed. They find out the dead man was accompanied by a young woman who is trapped in Russia and in fear of her life. They know immediately they will have to go get her.

Meanwhile, a senior Interpol agent is sent to Meteora Greece to investigate the murder of seven monks at one of its rock-top monasteries. He arrives at the scene and tries to unravel the evidence. Seven bodies are found: all headless. Where are the heads and why were the monks killed in this way?

The two plots alternated with each new chapter as I wondered when they would intersect. Greece is at the center of it as we spend time in Meteora, Mt. Athos (the holy site of 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries), and Sparta. With regard to the latter, we discover in the mountains above the modern city an ancient sect of Spartans who are still trained by the agoge and wear the Spartan armor.

The two sub-plots finally came together in an exciting climax which made the read thoroughly enjoyable. A little spy stuff, some intrigue, murder, and a lot of history make for an interesting stew.

My only criticism of the novel is the number of cliff-hanger chapter endings. I felt frustrated by having the story line cut off as the author did his tease. A few times I wanted to skip ahead and find out how the chapter ending was resolved but held myself back. The chapters aren’t long enough to make the wait intolerable.

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