Thursday, September 12, 2013

REVIEW: PHARAOH (Jack Howard, #7) by David Gibbins

Title: Pharaoh
Series: Jack Howard, #7
Author: David Gibbins
Publisher: Bantam Dell
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Genres: Historical fiction, Action/Adventure
Reviewed by: Books4Tomorrow
Source: NetGalley
My rating: 4/5

SUMMARY

Marine archaeologist Jack Howard has made an astounding find in the depths of the Red Sea: proof of a mass suicide by a pharaoh and his army. But what could have driven the most powerful people of their age to hurl themselves to their deaths? What terrible new king, revered as a new god, came to take their place?

Howard’s search leads back through the ages to the discovery of the vault of Tutankhamun in 1928, the legacy of American adventurers in Egypt, the fate of General Gordon’s doomed garrison in Khartoum—and a long-shrouded catastrophe that saw a unit of Gordon’s would-be rescuers swallowed by a mysterious Nile whirlpool. Between the story told by a crazed survivor of that horror, a lost labyrinth, and the truth behind a three-thousand-year-old conflict, Howard is on the verge of a discovery that will change history—for good, for evil, and for the future of all humankind.


REVIEW

This is the seventh book in the Jack Howard series, and although this is the first book ever I’ve read by Gibbins, it will surely not be the last! Pharaoh can be read as a stand-alone without having to have read the first six books in this series. I never had the feeling I was missing out on any previous character development, even though the characters have histories and relationships which were most likely formed in the previous books.

Jack and his team’s quest to unravel the mystery of Akhenaten is one of adventure and jaw-dropping discoveries that keeps the reader riveted. But Pharaoh is more than buried treasure, archeological discoveries, bloody nineteenth-century battle scenes, underwater temples, staving off crocodiles, and trying to survive the heat of the Sudanese desert. It also comprises of a well-known historical event in which British Imperial power was sent on a rescue expedition to save General Gordon from Khartoum; which is the second of three storylines, the third being that of a young British engineer with his own motives and convictions.

The author either did his research really well, or he has a passion for archeology and diving, as these two elements, amongst others, are a massive part of what drives the plot and gives it an authentic feel. I couldn’t really see the comparison to Indiana Jones, but I felt the desert setting and use of advanced technological gadgets created an Indiana Jones-movie-like atmosphere in the story. The reader is constantly kept on the edge, and as this is a fast-paced novel – albeit with in-depth descriptions – I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

The one character that stood out for me and made me smile quite often was Costa. I loved his wit and natural charm and without him this story wouldn’t have had the same thrilling impact on me it had. I was immensely impressed with how the author blended the events taking place in the nineteenth century with Jack’s storyline in the here and now. Not many authors can pull the transitioning between such different viewpoints off as deftly as Gibbins did. Skilled writing, superb plot- and character development, and detailed imagery that places the reader centre stage in every action sequence and new discovery, and you have yourself a novel that’s nearly impossible to put down!





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READ more REVIEWS

Pharaoh by David Gibbins has 17 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.

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ABOUT the AUTHOR

Canadian-born underwater archaeologist and novelist. Gibbins learned to scuba dive at the age of 15 in Canada, and dived under ice, on shipwrecks and in caves while he was still at school. He has led numerous underwater archaeology expeditions around the world, including five seasons excavating ancient Roman shipwrecks off Sicily and a survey of the submerged harbour of ancient Carthage. In 1999-2000 he was part of an international team excavating a 5th century BC shipwreck off Turkey. His many publications on ancient shipwreck sites have appeared in scientific journals, books and popular magazines. Most recently his fieldwork has taken him to the Arctic Ocean, to Mesoamerica and to the Great Lakes in Canada.

After holding a Research Fellowship at Cambridge, he spent most of the 1990s as a Lecturer in the School of Archaeology, Classics and Oriental Studies at the University of Liverpool. On leaving teaching he become a novelist, writing archaeological thrillers derived from his own background. His novels have sold over two million copies and have been London Sunday Times and New York Times bestsellers. His first novel, Atlantis, published in the UK in 2005 and the US in September 2006, has been published in 30 languages and is being made into a TV miniseries; since then he has written five further novels, published in more than 100 editions internationally. His novels form a series based on the fictional maritime archaeologist Jack Howard and his team, and are contemporary thrillers involving a plausible archaeological backdrop.

AUTHOR LINKS

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