Wednesday, March 6, 2013

REVIEW: The Boudicca Parchments / Adam Palmer

TITLE: The Boudicca Parchments (Daniel Klein Adventures)
AUTHOR: Adam Palmer
PUBLISHER: Self-Published
AVAILABILITY: Amazon US (Kindle e-book), Amazon UK (Kindle e-book)

Recommended for fans of archeologist adventures and conspiracy thrillers, like Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code 

Thriller—Conspiracy/Alternate History 

The Boudicca Parchments is about a modern-day professor solving an ancient mystery that had been buried over the centuries. Meanwhile, a group of zealots, hell-bent on keeping the truth hidden, pursues him.

The Boudicca Parchments alternates between fast-paced action scenes and slower-paced investigation scenes. The mystery at the center of it all—what are these ancient documents and what do they mean?—drives the story forward.

Third person omniscient. The Boudicca Parchments is written in a cinematic fashion, rotating between various storylines and points of view. Although Daniel Klein’s perspective is the central one, Palmer also shows us what’s going on behind-the-scenes with the villains and the authorities.

The Boudicca Parchments opens with a tumultuous scene that takes place in ancient times. Who is involved and what they are fighting is left ambiguous, leaving the reader to wonder what happened. Flash forward several centuries. Martin Costa breaks into a dig site in search of artifacts he can sell and stumbles upon a historical document of great significance. He snaps a picture, sends it to Professor Daniel Klein, then turns up dead the next day.

Daniel, a language expert who specializes in ancient history, receives Costa’s message and goes to meet him. When he arrives, he finds himself framed for Costa’s murder. More than that, a group of Jewish fundamentalists want him dead. Rescued from an attempt on his life by an Israeli special operative, Sarit, Daniel races to learn the significance of Costa’s discovery while evading the fundamentalists. 

The Boudicca Parchments is an exciting conspiracy thriller reminiscent of Dan Brown’s works. Part Robert Langdon, part Indiana Jones, Daniel Klein is a wonderful character who is easily likable. Also interesting are the primary villains, HaTzadik and Baruch Tivka, the two Jewish fundamentalists who will stop at nothing to prevent Daniel from uncovering the ancient truth. The Boudicca Parchments alternates between Daniel’s perspective and that of his pursuers as the plot twists and turns on its way to its surprising conclusion.

Although The Boudicca Parchments is technically a sequel—the second of Palmer’s series of Daniel Klein adventures—it works as a standalone book. The plot follows a chase format with historical revelations thrown in along the way. It speeds up in some areas, following the fundamentalists’ nefarious plots, and slows down in others, giving the reader a chance to catch up on what Daniel knows.

While the action takes place in contemporary times, the mystery lies in the ancient past. Palmer has clearly done a lot of research on the subjects of Boudicca, the Celtic queen who led an uprising against the Romans, and the First Jewish-Roman war that took place in the first century. The background given to the reader on the subject—mostly through Daniel’s explanations to other characters—present a fascinating take on ancient history. Palmer takes the known facts and draws his own connections, creating an alternate version of history with serious implications for the modern-day fundamentalists. Although the retelling of history is fictional, Palmer’s version is believable in the context of the story and intriguing to read about.

Personally, I couldn’t put this one down. I just had to know what the big secret was, and the answer was both clever and satisfying. The villains—the fundamentalists and their associate, the mysterious Sam Morgan—were as interesting as the good guys. The one criticism I have is that some places seemed to slow the pace a little too much, diverting the plot away from what I really wanted to know about. For instance, the parts about the investigation into Costa’s murder or the parts about the Israeli secret agency. While these story lines are certainly relevant, I was impatient to know more about the people at the center of it all—Daniel and the fundamentalists.   

All in all, The Boudicca Parchments is an entertaining rollercoaster ride of a book, one that keeps you guessing until the very end. Between the modern-day conspiracies and the historical elements, Palmer succeeds in creating a gripping and fascinating thriller.

This book contains a few errors and typos, but nothing too distracting.

This book contains some thriller-type violence, including guns and explosions, but nothing graphic. This book contains some adult language.

Adam Palmer is the pen name of David Kessler, a prolific thriller writer. The Boudicca Parchments is the second book published under this name, with the first being the first book in the Daniel Klein series, The Moses Legacy.

Visit his website

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