23 October 2011 ~ 0 Comments

The Nestorian Alliance (A Jack Trader Adventure) by Michael Watson

The author won a charity auction bid on my blog. He was generous enough to donate to one of my favorite charities so I read and reviewed this book during a read-a-thon for him. I will say that I went into this book with pretty low expectations. You see, I’m one of those folks that judges a book by it’s cover. And the current one just doesn’t grab me. It’s a book I would have completely skipped if left to my own devices because of the cover. It really needs something more interesting and less… what it is. It doesn’t do the book any favors or enough justice because the book is WAY better than the cover would lead you to believe… so ignore the cover if the description sounds interesting because it’s quite good.

The book centers around the search for Noah’s Ark and a man by the name of Jack Trader. It looks like the author intends for this to be a series, which I totally get and I can see how this work well for what he’s created here, but I also think this book may have suffered a bit because there was a huge amount character set up in the first half that could have really been woven more into the book itself and less in the beginning. I think that while around 15%, it does really well, it drops back off again until the halfway point.

The plot is really well done. So many authors in this genre of mystery/adventure get so wrapped up in the action that they forget that there’s an actual story they are supposed to be telling. The author does a really remarkable job of staying on point with the whole Ark and Nestorian thing.  Honestly, the plot really was interesting and super well done.

Sadly, while the plot is SO good, the book itself really needed a good content editor. There are large chunks of text with paragraphs that are just too long and there are times when the author really should have made the characters tell us about something instead of narrating large portions of it. It is almost too descriptive in parts and others feel a little disjointed. I think just pulling all the points together and making a cohesive book would have easily made this a four star book (it’s not bad! It’s still a 3 star, which means I liked it, don’t get me wrong!)

Where I think the book really shined is in the dialogue in the last half of the book. It felt like the author had settled in to his characters and they had some really good dialogue going back and forth between them. The first half is a bit stilted as they aren’t really sure where this whole thing is going to be meander to. But the later chapters are so well done that I felt myself getting sucked into their conversations and world because it was so natural feeling.

As I said, it took us way to long to get to our final destination, but once we are there, the author’s writing really shines. He is able to describe the area and the people and their beliefs and everything that surrounds that place with such detail and imagery that I felt like I could easy picture this as a real place in my head. The location was perfect and really made a wonderful backdrop for the plot.

Overall, I would recommend this book for those that enjoy a good adventure or thriller/suspense. It is well done and the plot alone makes it worth reading. The ending had a little surprise or two for me, I wasn’t expecting the very end to happen that way. Hmmm….

Description:
The location of Noah’s Ark has been one of history’s most intriguing mysteries. Believed to be on Mt. Ararat, it still eludes all seekers. The year is 1952 and a well worn amulet has been discovered in a collection at the Denver Museum of Natural History with etchings on it’s back indicating the true location of the Ark. Jack, a geologist/archeologist and avid Ark enthusiast, is made aware of the discovery and wastes no time in preparing for an immediate departure to Turkey with his two best friends and partners.Through a network of agents, Joseph Stalin also learns about the discovery. He is determined to find the Ark first and destroy it. Stalin is still vengeful from being kicked out of seminary school many years earlier. Major Anna Petrova volunteers for the mission to Colorado with orders to retrieve the amulet at all cost.The Nestorian Brotherhood has been protecting Noah’s Ark for centuries in a location known only to them and they will do anything to keep it safe and hidden. They are well prepared. The man in black is their first defense and possibly their last.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Book count for 2011: 53

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