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La Stele Maudite
Matt Bondurant
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La Stele Maudite

2.51 of 5 stars 2.51  ·  rating details  ·  348 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Published April 1st 2008 by Livre de Poche (first published April 6th 2005)
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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
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
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
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
You would think a novel about Egyptology and the deciphering of ancient hieroglyphics, set in London and presented as somewhat of a thriller, would be an interesting & intriguing read. I thought that too -- until I actually read the book. But I have to say this one was a big disappointment. The plot, which initially seemed like it was going somewhere, ended up going nowhere, and the ending brought about absolutely no resolution. Not only that, but I found the plot confusing. Often times I wo ...more
Marjie Smith
I thought the book had great promise but had too many things going on at the same time making it confusing as to which was the main story. Further, nothing was fully resolved in the end on his personal or work front, and serious legal matters seem to just dissolve with no explanation. There was no satisfying understanding, at the end, as to why so many of the things happened or why he was being so violently pursued.
I like a good action thriller with historical information sprinkled in but I foun
Arinn Wardell
This book has the makings to be a great baook, but it falls short. The plot is a great idea: Man works for museum, man has drunken wild night and brings hot girl back to museum, artifact goes missing, craziness happens while trying to get artifact happen. Unfortunately, the writing is dull and boring. As a reader, I never had the page turning experience. It took along time to read because I had no problem walking away from it.
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
Ed Tarkington
If you're looking for The DaVinci Code, you picked up the wrong book. Matt Bondurant can actually write. This is a literary novel, more character- than plot-driven (though the plot has plenty of surprising twists). The Third Translation is a wise, assured debut novel from a gifted stylist. A great read.
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
Carolyn Rose
I rounded up to three stars because I liked the Egyptology. But I often wanted to smack the characters and yell, "Stop drinking and start thinking."
Harry Annan
Intricate and complex book. Learned much about antiquities and ancient text translations amidst a good detective story. talented writer.
Leah Litchford
This book was completely dry, too many archeologist words from Egypt that went way over my head. Plus, there wasn't any plot behind the story. Characters were thrown together and it was hard to decipher the relationships
2.5 actually.
I didn't understand what was going on. I'm still confused as to the resolution to the "mystery." I gave it 2 1/2 stars because I found SOME of the cryptography details interesting.
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
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
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!"
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.
Da Vinci Code meets The Mummy... Perfectly summarized by the author himself (p 267): "A complex conspiracy" with "strapping American athletes, and ascetic cults."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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