Jason Golomb's Reviews > The Lucifer Code

The Lucifer Code by Charles Brokaw
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Nov 15, 10

bookshelves: thriller, adventure, fiction, archaeology
Read in November, 2010

When I got through the first quarter of "Lucifer's Code", I started considering whether I should give this pulp archaeo-historical-thriller four or three stars. The introductory scenes were that good. High action, quick and witty dialogue and a reasonably smart storyline. Honestly, I was teetering on the 4-stars v 3-stars debate through the first half of the book. Unfortunately for me, and for the potential 4-star rating, this is when things started falling apart.

The first half of the book is a single, continuous, non-stop action sequence. A kidnapping leads to to an escape, involving international travel, gunplay, witty reparte (with sexual innuendo), interspersed with clues surrounding a mysterious scroll and the potential for the "end of the world". The story is nothing unique: a world-renowned linguist has a knack for reading ancient languages; he's already discovered Atlantis (in a previous book), and is now pulled into another world-shattering mystery. Yes, it sounds an awful lot like Dan Brown's Robert Langdon, but I assure you that this is but a comic book in comparison to the depth and breadth of Brown's best.

The opening sequences read right out of a strong mainstream thriller and would be totally film-ready. It perhaps points to its lack of originality that one could easily envision the car chases through Turkey and gun-shot dodging escape through the catacombs near Istanbul. But the writing is smooth and the reading is fast, easy and fun. I'm not ashamed to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the early going.

I really wanted the mystery to have a strong payoff, but it was not to be. In fact, I lost interest in keeping tabs on all of the loose ends and only hours after finishing, I'm still not sure if they were tied up, nor do I particularly care. All aspects of the final quarter of the book felt like the author was in a rush to be done...or that an editor got a little eraser-happy and managed to strip out all semblances of the strong build up from the first part of the book. I liked the characters, I liked the dialogue, and I liked the outline of the story...but they all dissipated like ancient paper blown in the wind.

If you like this style of story: Dan Brown Lite (VERY lite), then this is worth a read...in paperback, or perhaps borrowed from a friend. All that said, I've put Charles Brokaw's first book, "The Atlantis Code" on my wishlist, and I'll keep an eye out for his second. There's more good than bad in "Lucifer's Code", but beware of the second half.

I received "The Lucifer Code" as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.
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