What a book!

February 26, 2010

Blasphemy, The Codex by Douglas Preston

I remember reading on a music blog somewhere once last year (if you know it, please share a link, I can’t find it) that rock music is at its best when it’s a bit silly and the bands don’t take themselves too seriously. I think the same applies to thrillers.

And while I am sure Douglas Preston certainly is serious about writing, I do love how his novels (which some are now saying will make him the heir to Michael Crichton in the genre) can get so preposterous that you can’t help but have a good time reading them.

He might be known to you for his novels with co-author Lincoln Child (Relic, The Ice Limit, etc.) but his solo efforts are great reads as well.

I simultaneously read and listened to two of his books. I read The Codex and listened to Blasphemy.

The Codex is a few years old and has Mayans, jungle adventure, a book of ancient codexwisdom, all that fun stuff. A wealthy art and antiquities collector and all around grumpy old bastard of a dad dies and has himself buried in a tomb somewhere. He leaves a videotape for his sons, entreating them to work together to find him. If they can do it, his fortune, worth half a billion dollars, is theirs.

Of course, they don’t work together at the start, and that’s where all the skeezy villains start working their way in to the brothers’ lives. This book is written in a classic page-turner fashion and while it drags briefly in spots, it mostly moves quickly and has plenty of crazy-silly action bits (not as silly as watching The Transporter, but just as much fun).

Blasphemy is Preston’s second novel to feature ex-CblasphemyIA operative-turned-monk-turned-private investigator Wyman Ford (the first being Tyrannosaur Canyon). A team of scientists are stationed at the largest particle accelerator ever built, located on the Navajo reservation in Arizona. They discover … something (is it a software glitch, is it God, is it something else?) but keep silent. The government sends Ford out to find out why the suddenly can’t get the accelerator online.

Not too many thrillers get too much into the discussion of science and religion and whether the two can coexist or not. But this one tries, with all kinds of fun science thrown in.

Some Christian folks might be offended by parts of the book, but the “villains” who happen to be Christians in this book are done as such over-the-top caricatures that any reasonable person, Christian or not, shouldn’t be all that upset (and the folks who are really like the characters in this book aren’t going to be reading this book at all anyway). But if it makes you feel any better, the non-Christians have plenty of wackiness written into them, too.

If you like techno-thrillers with plenty of action but without the pages-long diversions for the exact step by step process by which every model of nuclear reactor or computer has worked, then Preston is for you. If you liked Michael Crichton before he got so way serious (so like Eaters of the Dead but not State of Fear) or have read any books by Matt Reilly, you’ll like Preston.

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s website.


1 Comment »

  1. I saw Blashphemy in the bargain books bin at HyVee today. I said to Melissa, “Hey, there is a review of this book on ‘What A Book!’.” She said, “Hey, only $3.” The review was better for the book than the price tag.

    Comment by jacksheard — March 16, 2010 @ 10:55 pm | Reply

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