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The Atlantis Code by Charles Brokaw
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
Forge Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765315311
Date: 10 November 2009 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

The Atlantis Code, by Charles Brokaw, is a cross between Indiana Jones and the Da Vinci Code. Handsome Professor Thomas Lourds attempts to decipher an ancient language on some artifacts and ends up running for his life from a group of assassins who are tied to a secret society of the Catholic Church. It's non-stop action and a great read.

Harvard Professor Thomas Lourds is a linguistics professor and an expert on ancient languages. The British science program Ancient Worlds, Ancient People, hires him to evaluate an artifact on their program. The science program also includes its beautiful host, Leslie Crane. Lourds flies to Alexandria, Egypt to be part of the program where he is asked to look at an ancient bell and to decipher the characters written on it. Uncharacteristically, Lourds is stumped. Even more to everyone's surprise, armed men attack the set and steal the bell, leaving lots of bloodshed in their path.

Prior to heading to Alexandria, Lourds received an email from a colleague in Russia who recently found an ancient cymbal with some strange script. After the attack in Alexandria, Lourds is suspicious and quickly heads to Russia, with Leslie of course, and finds that his college has been murdered and the cymbal stolen. The colleague's sister, Natasha, is a police officer, and joins the group. As Lourds attempts to decipher the script, they head to numerous areas and are constantly under fire. They do not know why these artifacts are worth killing for, and they are just trying to stay alive.

In a parallel plot, a massive earthquake unearthed some land along the coast of Spain that is believed to be the lost city of Atlantis. The Catholic Church is organizing the excavation to determine if this really is the lost city. At the same time, Cardinal Stefano Murani, a member of the secret Society of Quirinus, is aware of the artifacts and understands that they are tied to the mystery of Atlantis. Murani is a Catholic fundamentalist, believes that the Catholic Church is too soft and wants to restore the church to its former glory. The Catholic Church has many secrets, and the Society of Quirinus wants them to stay secret. Murani has different ideas. The assassins chasing Lourds and his group are working for Murani as Murani tries to obtain the bell the cymbal and use them at Atlantis.

The action is fantastic. Lourds is knowledgeable and well-connected, and continues to find clues to decipher the script that lead his group all over Europe and Africa. Natasha is street savvy and manages to keep them from getting killed by the assassins, who always manage to follow them. Lourds is quite a ladies' man too, and charms both Leslie and Natasha.

As the archeological dig in Spain progresses, the story becomes a little Indiana Jones-ish because they continue to find hidden passages, doors made of a material unknown to earth, etc., but it is really fun.

The Atlantis Code is a bit like Indiana Jones meets the Da Vinci Code. The story has it all: a secret society within the Catholic Church, a corrupt Cardinal, a smart and handsome professor, and a cryptic mystery that needs to be solved. All that plus the mysteries of the archeological dig that is always full of surprises makes for a great read. I thoroughly enjoyed The Atlantis Code and I highly recommend it.

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