Thursday, June 21, 2018

Book Review: Atlantis by David Gibbins

Author David Gibbins begins this novel with an archaeological discovery  in an ancient Egyptian tomb which sets the characters along the road of discovery in the quest of the lost city of Atlantis. Although this is very much a work of fiction, it contains a lot of factual information surrounding the legend of Atlantis to give it the feeling that it could be true. A series of follow-up discoveries lead a team, led by Jack Howard, to the Black Sea where the investigation of underwater ruins is complicated by an abandoned nuclear submarine and a well-equipped organization of piratical treasure-hunters.

This is a fast-paced story where one discovery quickly leads to another which is followed by rapid code-breaking and expert-level knowledge-based deduction from the collection of experts that are assembled here. The combined effect of quick-fire problem solving and archaeology  makes it feel like the author is attempting to create a cross between the Da Vinci Code and Indiana Jones; he fails miserably.
The lead character, Jack Howard, has none of the charm or wit of Indiana Jones and the codes that need to be solved are not as interesting as those in the Da Vinci Code. In fact all the characters here are of the annoying type that occur in so many novels in that they are attractive, super fit, experts in a wide range of fields, virtual super heroes with no faults at all. Boring, cliched and unimaginatively created.

After a fairly enjoyable and interesting beginning the author suddenly turns his writing to techno-speak. The reader is treated to every detail and specification of all the pieces of equipment used for underwater exploration and every detail from the instruction manual of a submarine meaning that for 40-50 of the most tedious pages I have ever read, the plot does not progress at all.

The one bright point in this book is the creation of a truly fiendish bad guy who is reminiscent of the best of Bond villains, but the author completely wastes a good character dispensing with him too easily and quickly.

Readers who enjoy the type of massed-produced pulp fiction might find something here but I would not recommend this book to anyone. In fact it is one of the worst books I have ever read. Badly written, irritating cliched characters, long boring passages that go nowhere I can't even recommend it is mindless entertainment; it is not entertaining at all.

Score: 1/10

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