November 05, 2010

Review: The Genesis Secret - Tom Knox

I'll be reviewing today The Genesis Secret by Tom Knox, written by british writer Sean Thomas under the name Tom Knox. Sean was born in Devon, in 1963, he wrote 2 books under Tom Knox and has another one coming in 2011.

The Genesis Secret is perfect for Dan Brown lovers who wish he had written his stories just a little bit different one of the other... The pace of the story is incredibly similar and the story has that polemic "thing", even though he exaggerates a LOT on the secret's repercussion.

The story is divided in two parts, that alternate chapters until a certain part where, of course, they gather as one story. One of the stories is about Rob Lutrell, a war reporter, stuck in Middle West and sort of traumatized because of a terrorist attack that he witnessed in Bagdad. 
The other story is about a series of highly brutal murders (with lots of cruelty and some traces of human sacrifices) that takes place in England and are investigated by a Scotland Yard detective.

Rob is writing a story about Gobekli Tepe, on Curdistan, a monument with some resemblance to Stonehendge but thousands of years older than that, when theoretically human kind couldn't build something of that magnitude.

The whole story is pretty slow at first (around page 200), which really bothered me. But after that it catches the pace and goes on, full of action and suspense... It's impossible not to compare with The Da Vinci Code, that has a slow story at first with many explanations and descriptions that, sure, are necessary, but not so much, and suddenly starts rushing with the story and all the action bits happen all at once.

I also can't stop mentioning that I thought the consequences of the "secret" extremelly overreacting. Ok, cool, it really is something different and, if it was revealed, it'd give place to many debates and arguments... But not so much.
I don't think that it would happen as they predict, actually, I don't think many people would care if something like that came up, for both the reason and the evidence, which are quite weak and also for the reason that, really, doesn't make much of a difference.

Positive points now? Gobekli Tepe is wonderful. Sure Tom Knox exaggerates and places several unrealistic facts there, but... Around 9.000 bC?! 11 THOUSAND years ago or more than that? When human couldn't do pottery, weren't even farmers? It's amazing they could build something that huge - and pretty mcuh no one knew about it. besides, after building the whole thing, around one thousand years later, they bury it. Really, I mean that. And no one knows why. Just for presenting that wonder to mankind, he gets brownie points, in my opinion.

After the slow start, when the story picks up the pace, it's great! The sacrifices are cruel, bloody, frighteningly real and well written: whoever has a weak stomach should definitly skip these paragraphs. Really! Most characters is deep and well written, with a few exceptions like, for example, Rob's ex wife. Dumb and badly written, is what she is.

It's a heavy book, meaning it has a lot of history, archeology, politics, culture... But very light on the Dan Brown style: it manages to approach such subjects on a "for dummies" style and in the end, takes like 3 pages to explain exactly what he was trying to figure out during the whole book, just in case you didn't get it, which actually helps, since they don't share with you what they're thinking all the time, leaving you to guess.

If you hated Dan Brown, stay away from this book. To everyone else, I recommend you to read it, it's nice, it's cool and you may learn something about history and archeology, which is pretty cool too!