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La Stele Maudite
 
by
Matt Bondurant
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La Stele Maudite

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2.48 of 5 stars 2.48  ·  rating details  ·  309 ratings  ·  46 reviews
This is the latest novel trying to capitalize on the amazing success of The Da Vinci Code by positing an ancient mystery, contemporary scholars, rare documents, greedy collectors, and a quasi-academic protagonist. In this case he's an American Egyptologist living in London who's got less than a week to unlock the secrets of the Stela of Paser, a funerary stone whose refere...more
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Published April 1st 2008 by Livre de Poche (first published January 1st 1900)
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Amie R.
This book took me forever to read. It was well written, but the plot NEVER goes anywhere! The whole time, you are waiting for something to happen and it doesn't. It's called "The Third Translation", but nothing is ever really translated. There's this entire side story with the main character and his daughter that really could have been left out because it adds absolutely nothing to what tiny bit of a story there actually is. I'm surprised I actually finished this at all. I guess I just kept hopi...more
Nancy Oakes
You know, after I finished this book I went to find reviews of it to see what others thought. I'm so amazed that it got a lot of negative reviews -- what -- did people expect Amelia Peabody? And here's the other thing: I keep seeing references to this book as supposedly being on par with the DaVinci Code, as if somehow since the publication of the DaVinci Code, it has become the standard by which all other books dealing with cryptography, hidden clues, secrets should be written. So when did that...more
Melanie
I wanted to like this book. I really did. Any thriller having to do with translating ancient hieroglyphs, the British Museum, etc. sounded good to me, and I was intrigued. Sounded like something I'd enjoy. However, the arrangement and style of the text left something to be desired.

I like flashbacks normally. I feel they can add to the story. In this book, the main character kept flashing back amidst a scene into other periods of his life, and I found it didn't contribute to the plot. It just was...more
Nancy
This is a multi-layered, complex book and my principal question is whether that added to it, or detracted from it. I really enjoy the idea of a book centered around an academic puzzle but Bondurant chose to include so much historical, ethnographic information that the casual reader could easily be put off.

I was curious enough about the book to plow through it, but overall it was an uneasy read. One of the key elements of the book is the under-developed social skill of the principal character. H...more
Christy
Finally found the book hard to put down around page 300. The subject matter should have been more interesting. It was hard to care about the main character, who is kind of a naive loser. I was also turned off by too many graphic references to bodily functions and odors... sometimes necessary to a story but not as often as shared here. I also felt there were a couple unneccessary storylines, and once introduced, were not satisfactorily resolved. Not a total waste of time but had the potential to...more
Vanessa
I very very rarely say this... I couldn't finish this book. It was that bad, i couldn't even resort to my usual technique of using the audio copy and listening to the book while i drive around, its just that bad of a book. The writing is jumpy and quite honestly tries much too hard.

I'm aware that Mr. Bondurant was trying to write a parody/commentary novel about noir novels of the time, but he failed miserably. The main character is incredibly unlikable, and I'm not even sure where he fit into th...more
Lake Oz Fic Chick
Walter Rothschild is an Egyptologist working to translate an ancient funerary stone and wondering is he has wasted his life. In a funk, he heads for a bar and gets pickled. He picks up a young woman, Erin, who seems particularly interested in his work. Naturally, he smuggles her into his office at the British Museum for a tryst. All too soon, he realizes Erin has made off with a few priceless artifacts. How will he find her again and save his reputation? The Third Translation unfolds briskly, wi...more
Susan Berry
I liked the subject matter that the plot of mystery revolved around. What I thought could have been done better, that is integrated into the plot, was the relationship with the daughter and the relationship with the library worker.

Although I realize that the author probably added them to give Rothchild some dimension and to develop some relationship with the reader, it seemed as if these two relationships were tangential to the story. If Rothchild did not have a daughter or she never appeared a...more
LeeAnn Derdeyn
This was promoted along the lines of Dan Brown & it is--but more intelligent. Brown mixes fact & fiction at leisure w/the undiscerning not recognizing which is which. Bondurant uses indepth fact/research to build his storyline but remains true to fact as we know it at the moment. I find it so interesting that this is an adult companion to the new Rick Riordan Red Pyramid with many of the same characters. If you're reading along with your child, you'll enjoy reading this one in 'me time.'...more
Karen
I'd give it 3.5 stars. A great quick read, and I enjoyed the intellectual side trips into Egyptology (which is why I picked up the book - yes, I made a cover judgement) but it will never be regarded as a masterpiece. The plot moves along a fairly predictable line. I often pay attention to author catch phrases or favorite words(particularly if they overuse/abuse them) - the most over-used phrase of this volume is "Wakey-Wakey!"
Jim
The Third Translation is a novel by Matt Bondurant had great potential to be a cross between Indiana Jone and the Da Vinci Code, but, it failed to deliver. In fact, it decayed into a rather dull novel with little mystery or suspense.

I listened to the abridged audio book and noticed the abridgement was choppy. Perhaps the unabridged version would have been better, but, I doubt it.

This is one book you can skip.
Dominique Pbass
Lots of messing around with the Egyptology stuff. The main character gets beat up a lot. Somehow it's interesting and you get to the end.
Roxana
I tried.....I did my best to read to the last page but I must confess, I couldn't. Don't get me wrong, all the science part was fine, but the story didn't help, it was just another treasure hunt, and even when I tend to love these kind of books, this one was b-o-r-i-n-g!!!
I expected so much more than the plain story of a plain scientific and his wasted times getting drunk and high..
That's my humble opinion.
Valerie
Interesting view into the world of egyptology, archaelogical finds and cuneiforms. Downside, I didn't warm up to the main character throughout the majority of the book--he's socially inept, hierglyphic obsessed and annoyingly oblivious to his self-absorption--I was just as irritated with him as were his ex-wife, young adult daughter and never-got-off-the-ground new love interest.
Alana
I liked it, but it missed the mark somewhere towards the end. Yeah, Egyptologists and archaeologists and linguists and museum people are all messed up, and Yes, the weirdos who trail around behind with their theories are totally nuts, but come on...really? So much stuffed into the first 2/3, only to peter out at the end.
Christy
So far, I have not been able to bring myself to finish this book. Maybe one of these days I'll get past the monotonous dragging on and on of the author but not today... It's going back on the shelf for a rainy day when I'm bored out of my mind and have read all the other good books three or four times over.
Annie
eh...not so much. this book was very so-so, in my opinion - too much (not terribly informative) information on ancient Egyptian languages and too little of everything else. not much of a plot, very little character development, a lot of blah. i was really hoping this would be a good one! but alas.
Caroline
I picked this up back when it was published, mainly from the eye-catching cover and the interesting-sounding plot. Instead, I found out this was full of extremely uninteresting characters, and the lack of punctuation really threw me off at the time. I've never felt like picking it up again.
Yvonne
This book was piss-poor. I'm sorry; I'm a sucker for a good Classics/Egyptology-related romp as much as the next guy, but this was just awful. The whole thing was all over the place. It tried to be edifying and it tried to be salacious and didn't manage to do much of either.
Colin
I picked up this copy at Building 19 for less than $3. It is an odd tale, a sort of collision of otherworldly academia with fantastic but sordid events from the "real world." I don't really know how to classify it. I enjoyed it, but not inordinately.
Linda
This book was well-written, but I just couldn't make myself care about all the trouble the protagonist got himself into by drinking, drugging and generally being irresponsible. I kept waiting for him to show some redeeming qualities, but it never happened.
Janet
Picked this up after hearing the author read at Wordstock. The protagonist is an Egyptologist caught up in a strange plot. Very vivid characters. I adore the story of the Canadian moon mission (a splendid digression).
Susan B
I thought I would never finish the book, the main character was very blah, and didn't seem possible he could be that stupid. One good thing - some of the Egyptian terms have come in handy for crossword puzzles.
Scott
I listened to the abridged audio book and was disappointed. The story lacked continuity and seemed to loose it's way. The main character's ineptness, in all situations, was more annoying than endearing.
Judith
I cannot recommend this book as I felt it rambled and by the close of the book the issues facing the main character were not addressed. I will probably never read another one of Matt Bondurant’s books.
Julie
Slow to start and way too much build that never goes anywhere. I wish there had been more about Egypt and a conclusion. I was disappointed the story is wrapped up in the epilogue.
Liz
The story in this book was completely chaotic and confusing and the writer wrapped it up too easily. It could have been good but needed a good editor and some rewriting.
Niki
I can appreciate how much Egyptology research must have went into this book, but the story was slow and absurd. The writing was fine - but man, where was the editor?!
Cindy Smith
again, just skimmed the last 100+ pages. not that it was necessarily bad, I just wasn't in to it. the main character was too annoying to care about.
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