The Atlantis Code – Charles Brokaw

An ancient artefact is discovered in a dusty antiquities shop in Alexandria, Egypt – the long-forgotten trinket soon becomes the centre of the most deadly race against time in history. 

The 20,000-year-old relic is inscribed with what appears to be the long-lost language of Atlantis. Only one man would seem to be able to decode its meaning – the world's foremost linguist, Dr Thomas Lourdes – but only if he can stay alive long enough...

Meanwhile, an earthquake in Cadiz, Spain, uncovers a most unexpected site – one which the Vatican rush to be the first to explore... Perhaps the lost city of Atlantis is finally ready to be found?

But is the world ready for her secrets?

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Year: 2009
Publisher: Michael Joseph (Penguin Group)
Rating: 4/5

Dr. Thomas Lourdesis a world famous linguist and archeologist, he is also considered the world's foremost expert on ancient languages. Riding on the popularity of his latest book, the Harvard professor is asked to take part in a BBC documentary called Ancient Worlds, Ancient People.

The host of this series is the young, attractive and ambitious, Leslie Crane. Leslie, along with her crew, meets Lourdes in Alexandria to film the show. In order to prove Lourdes is a language expert, Leslie presents him with a series of ancient artifacts that he must decipher. 

One of these items is a bell. This ancient item has Lourdes stumped. It contains a language that he has never seen and can not read. If that isn't enough to get his attention, while he is examining the bell armed bandits attack him, and the crew, and steal the bell. 

To make matters worse, a friend of his is murdered, also during the theft of an ancient instrument she had in her possession. Unfortunately, for the thieves, her sister Natashya is a dangerous woman... a Russia police officer who will stop at nothing to avenge her sisters death.

This puts into motion a series of events that see Lourdes, Leslie, her cameraman (Gary) and Natashya travel around the globe in search of answers to the mystery before them, all the while being pursued by some deadly bad guys who want the same thing they are after.

This novel was by no means original. Archeological thrillers have been done many times before, as has the theme of religious conspiracy and the myth of Atlantis. This novel reminded me of books like The Da Vinci Code and The Last Templar

That said, it was still a fun read! I love a good fast-paced, action-packed, mystery thriller and this novel was exactly that. 

I enjoyed the character of Lourdes. He was highly intelligent, arrogant, a complete stud among the ladies (to the point where it was amusing I might add) and self-absorbed. Perfect. Nothing like a flawed human being to take the lead in a novel. 

Gary provided comic relief. He was the typical, smart-yet-not-university-educated-so-explains-things-in-layman's-terms-kinda-guy.

The bad guys in this novel where ruthless, killing whoever got in their way. All the while working for Murani, a power hungry bishop who wants to take the Vatican for his own and use what he hopes will be found at the Cadiz dig, in order to do so. 

The women in this novel, although interesting also, were portrayed in a typical silly fashion. Natashya is beautiful and dangerous, having the ability to take out numerous hoards of baddies while Lourdes marvels at her toned butt. 

Leslie is ambitious and fame hungry, willing to do whatever it takes to excel in her career. She makes the mistake of falling for Lourdes, however, which causes some friction between the two woman and causes Lourdes all sorts of grief. It's funny how no matter what is going on in life, love and sex  can always cause problems!

Despite the fact that this book stuck to the typical formula of these sorts of thrillers, and borrowed from ideas that have already done the rounds, Brokaw managed to write a gripping read that easily kept my attention.

I enjoyed Lourdes and his thirst for knowledge. I could relate to his love of books and learning... I understand how he feels when he says that he gets sad when he thinks about all the books he won't have time to read during his life and all the things he will not learn.

The Atlantis Code is the first book in the Thomas Lourdes series. Book number two, called The Lucifer Code, came out in August 2010 and book number three is due out next year. I will definitely visit them when I am in the mood for a fun, easy to read thriller!

I think it is also important to mention that Charles Brokaw is a pseudonym for a "well-known figure in the literary community with many awards and books to his credit"... I have tried, without any luck, to find out who he is. If anyone can enlighten me as to who Brokaw is, I would appreciate it.
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