Karen's Reviews > Gideon's Sword

Gideon's Sword by Douglas Preston
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Feb 28, 11

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Read in February, 2011

I have long been a fan of Preston & Child. They're Pendergrast books are great reads with interesting characters and good plots. That said I have to say I am disappointed in their newest series, the Gideon Crew books of which Gideon's Sword is the first. The biggest problem with the series as I see it at this point is Gideon is just not that interesting of a character.

Gideon has the misfortune of watching his father be killed when he is 12 as part of a government coverup and spends the next part of his life preparing to and eventually avenging his death. The first part of the novel explains exactly how he avenges his father's death. Once this mission is complete Crew plans to spend sometime kicking back relaxing and fishing, however he is recruited by a special agency doing contract work for the government to follow a Chinese scientist named Mark Wu who is bringing plans for or a new weapon itself into the US. Crew's mission is to retrieve these plans or the weapon. Of course nothing goes as planed and Wu is killed in a car crash before Crew can really talk to him, but Crew does get to speak to Wu long enough for Wu to give him a long list of numbers. The rest of the novel centers around Crew's quest to find out what the numbers mean and his attempt to find the weapon Wu was carrying. Of course Crew is not the only one looking for the weapon an assassin named Nodding Crane and a supposed CIA agent named Mindy are also hot on the trail of Wu and consequently Crew as well since it is know that Wu told Crew the string of numbers before he died.

The biggest problem with this novel is Crew is just not that interesting of a character. He seems like a pretty run of the mill guy, with very little to distinguish him. With Pendergast, the main character of Preston and Child's other series, the reader was introduced to Sherlock Holmes character with a lot of personality and penchant for solving crimes and puzzles. The reader wanted to known more about him and as the series has gone on has learned much more about him and his history. The problem with Crew is as a reader I don't really care if I know more about him or not he just is not particularly exciting. The other problem with this novel is the mission is not terribly interesting. With the Pendergast novels many of the plots involve artifacts, other cultures, and the supernatural, they are a lot of fun to read and keep the reader interested throughout the story. With this novel the mission is over a weapon, and one that is not fully explained until about 2/3 of the way through the book. What we get first is a list of numbers that mean nothing to the reader so they are not likely to capture attention. On the whole I found the plot including the final showdown very flat.

That said there were some good points to this novel. The way Crew gets himself out of various sticky situation, with costumes and play acting, are very creative and fun to read. Some of the characters beside Crew, Mindy, Nodding Crane and a prostitute named Orchid that Crane recruits to help him are interesting characters. Sadly most of them die so there is little chance of seeing them again in later novels.

On the wholes I would have to say I was disappointed in this novel. If you have never read Preston & Child do not start here. Start instead with the Pendergast series whose highlights include The Relic, and The Cabinet of Curiosities. If there is a sequel to Gideon's Sword I may read because I love the authors and hope that they will be able to make this series as much fun as the Pendergast series. Until then I will be looking forward to the next installment of the Pendergast series due out this summer.
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Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews) I completely agree with your entire review (see mine, and you'll see, lol). It was such a disappointment to me, because I love Doug and Linc so much!


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