Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Lost Goddess - Reviewed

The Lost GoddessThe Lost Goddess by Tom Knox

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book as an Advanced Reader Copy through Goodreads' giveaways program. I'll refrain from any commentary on the formatting or syntax, since it is an unproofed copy and will inevitably change shape come publication.

As the book description outlines, The Lost Goddess takes Julia Kerrigan, an archaeologist working in France, and Jake Thurby, a photographer in Southeast Asia, through a harrowing journey of ancient mysteries, genocide, and murder. It is a thriller, fast-paced, and grim. It is dark, very dark, both in tone and content. In many ways it is an answer to Dan Brown's novels, this one tying together ancient Angkor Wat mysteries with modern Khmer Rouge atrocities. But this time religion isn't on trial. Rather, Communism, specifically Communism as practiced in Asia, is.

For me the book came to a proper surprise ending. I didn't predict how much of it turned out. Given the tone and themes of the novel, the ending(s) seemed appropriate and were very thought provoking.

Perhaps Knox's greatest strength, aside from his in-depth research into the history of the cave paintings in France and the ancient civilization of Angkor Wat, is his ability to sit the reader in the setting. Knox has obviously traveled the places he describes, and it shines through in every sentence. I could picture the standing stones in France, feel the waters of the Mekong, and appreciate the majesty of China's remote Himalaya regions.

My only reservation with recommending this book is its very dark themes, gruesome scenes, and sexual content. It's a shame really, because such content (though it could have been much worse) limits Knox's audience. Regardless, I intend to read his other novels (and I'm a bit of a prude).

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