Sunday, July 27, 2014
The Tenth Chamber by Glenn Cooper
3.5 out of 5 stars - Archeological thriller with a lot going on in many different historical time periods and set primarily in the Perigord Region of France.
30,000 BP to present day -- Neanderthal to Cro-Magnon to Middle Ages to 1899 to the Great Wars and to the 21st century -- this is a wide sweeping and complex tale of a cave with amazingly accurate paintings on its walls hidden near Ruac, France, and the incredible discovery made there throughout those many thousand years by those who lived in that area or who happened upon it. What is the secret and what will people do to protect it?
Because of the incredible amount of detail and the many-layered plot lines, the story was a little slow to start but the reader is immediately intrigued wondering what is so important about this cave and the lengths taken to prevent its exploration and exposure. A series of events brings a present day book restorer into possession of an engraved color manuscript said to be written in the middle ages by a monk at a rural Cistercian abbey in the Perigord area. Hugo Pineau consults with his friend, Luc Simard -- an archeologist -- when the implications of that book come to light. The narrative shifts back and forth in time and between different narrators as this intricate tale unfolds from several angles. This is a secret worth killing for and the action is nonstop as readers are catapulted from one scene to the next. I learned an amazing amount of interesting historical and archeological facts from this novel and I'd recommend it to anyone who is interested in these topics, the setting or the time period. Sometimes I thought the author was channeling Jean Auel (who is actually mentioned in the text along with the title of her first book), but I like any book that brings out the researcher in me. This one is not a fast read because there's so much to absorb, but well worth the time and effort.
Why only 3.5 stars?? Main character too much like Indiana Jones and a lot of suspension of disbelief required as Luc works out the mystery of this tenth chamber in the cave.
Thenk you to NetGalley and Lascaux Media for the e-book ARC to review.