CODEX by Adrian Dawson

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CODEX by Adrian Dawson

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: This is a classy and intelligent thriller. Everything from monks to the dreaded 't' word - terrorism: is here in spades in Dawson's engaging and engrossing style.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 580 Date: December 2010
Publisher: Last Passage
ISBN: 978-0956577009

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When I read the resume on the back cover I immediately thought that it was going to be one of those high-octane, action every second paragraph, type of thrillers. All action and perhaps very little substance. I was happily proved wrong. And very early on in the novel, as well, which was good.

Straight away, Dawson with his opening chapter gives us the sweeping statement The chess board is the world ... like life itself is governed by a set of rules ... Very appropriate, as the main character, Jack Bernstein is a dab hand at chess. Although he lives a very comfortable - some may say, enviable life in the US, he is not unfamiliar with personal tragedy. For example, he hasn't seen his only daughter Lara, for several years. He could probably tell us exactly to the very hour. In short, he's a broken man. Work keeps him busy. He's involved in computers in a glossy, corporate fashion. And he has a creative plan to become even bigger.

Suddenly, there's good news for workaholic Jack. Or so it seems. Lara is on her way home from, well, from God-knows-where. Jack doesn't know it yet, but she won't make it. If I say just two simple words - plane and terrorism, I'm sure you'll get the picture. And Dawson's smart but also poetic narrative sets the scene. It doesn't really waver. It is a constantly gripping read. As we take the final flight with Lara, I found it a moving and chilling piece of narrative. I was hooked. We are made all too aware of Lara's inner turmoil. But we are not told all of the details. I was impressed and I wasn't expecting to be impressed, especially not this early on in the novel.

Then everything starts to move at quite a pace. Jack is suddenly, somehow, caught up in a complex and intricate game of cat-and-mouse. Jack thinks he's the clever one. We meet a varied bunch of characters in this meaty story. Intelligent, ruthless individuals with their own particular end-game in mind. Secretive projects in secretive locations. But why? And to what end? There is a strong biblical element to the story and yes, I was reminded at times of The Da Vinci Code. (I haven't read the book but I've seen the film).

Various chapters are given over to a clutch of key characters as the plot deepens. We travel to various parts of the world also. Perhaps a little fanciful in places, but it is a thriller after all. Dawson's flair for creating strong characters shines. Even some of the names (particularly one) are creative and a master stroke (you'll find out why right at the end).

Everything you'd expect in a good thriller is here - and more. The FBI, secret sites, potential bomb scenarios and the like. This is an internationally-flavoured thriller with a compelling plot. It brushes up against real life several times to make your heart chill. To make you think. A treat for lovers of the thriller genre. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to Dawson's next one.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals then try The Mephisto Threat by E V Seymour.

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Buy CODEX by Adrian Dawson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy CODEX by Adrian Dawson at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
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