Release Date: 07/06/12
Taklamakan desert, 1895: a new Pompeii has come to light, and with it two remarkable artefacts, found in a hidden burial chamber. A metal ankh and star - covered in strange inscriptions, feather-light and cool to the touch. Svalbard, 1897: on the skerried islands of Svalbard, a hydrogen balloon is readied for a polar voyage. Publicly, it is a patriotic attempt to put Sweden in the lead of the race to the North Pole. Privately, the three men on board have another objective. But S. A Andree, Knut Frankel and Nils Strindberg will never be seen alive again. Falun, Sweden, 2011: 260 meters under the earth, in a long-flooded mineshaft, a diver's torchbeam plays over a mouldering corpse with a fist-sized hole in its forehead. Skeletal fingers clutch a metal amulet. It is the key to the annals of a secret history so deeply buried that the few who knew of it though it lost forever. Until now...
I love thrillers so when I had the opportunity to read this title I jumped to it. The blurb grabbed me right from the start and with the possibilities of a tale that blended some of the Scandinavian writing style with a Dan Brown type thriller I thought this couldn’t be a better amalgamation.
Sadly for me, that was as good as it got. Don’t get me wrong, the writing was there but it felt lack lustre as the characters really didn’t strike me as either anything new or potentially believable which caused my first major stumbling block. When this was added to in places what I felt was poor dialogue and forced confrontations to help the pace, I really felt that it wasn’t quite the book that I hoped for.
All in I will look into other titles by Jan when they become available but for this release it isn’t one that will stay with me for any positive reasons. A great shame all round.