The Khazar Codex by Graham Fulbright
|The Khazar Codex by Graham Fulbright|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The title might put you in mind of The Da Vinci Code and there is a mystery to solve, but there's far more depth in The Khazar Codex.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 626||Date: January 2015|
It's a brutal introduction to the story as a man is killed in the way that they did it in those days: two trees were pulled to the ground and the man lashed between them and then the trees were released. But that's only the background to the story which is set in the here and now and most of it is in The Kemble, a rather rundown theatre, which is presenting a revival of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia. On the opening night there's apparently a fire, but whilst most of the hostages are shepherded out of the theatre a group of seven members of the audience, two cast members and the prime minister's son, Nigel Hastings, are taken hostage. The 'terrorists' (for what else can you call people who take others hostage?) represent New METRO, a group of activists who are campaigning for disused underground stations to be converted for use by the homeless.
This could have been quite a story in itself, but whilst the hostages are held in the theatre one of the group (who is a Gulf War veteran). breaks through a basement wall and finds himself in a vault under a neighbouring property which is stocked with works of art. One of the other hostages is a museum curator, who appreciates the value and quality of the paintings but is particularly taken by a casket which appears to originate from a period in which she has a particular interest. The contents of the casket are protected by a code and Nigel Hamilton and two other A level students who are amongst the hostages take on the task of breaking the code. It's this casket which is going to be the cause of an awful lot of trouble, involving the world's three major religions.
I'll confess that when I saw the title of this book, my heart sank. It put me in mind of nothing quite so much as The da Vinci Code, which was fine that weekend when I had a dreadful cold but when you reach the fifteenth reworking you begin to tire of the idea. There are superficial similarities - the constant sense of threat and a code which needs to be broken - but that's where it ends. Fulbright is a better writer than Dan Brown and his characters have a lot more depth. There's an excellent example of Stockholm syndrome as the captives begin to empathise with their captors and collude with them over how to utilise the contents of the vault, some to a more charitable purpose than others.
They're not the only ones who are interested in the contents of the vault. After art experts are allowed in to examine the finds word spreads quickly and there are a lot of people who feel that they have a right to some - or all - of the contents of the vault. And not all of the people are who they say they are - particularly when their identities change according to who they meet. As much a conflict of causes as a conflict between people, it's a book you'll need to concentrate on to get the best from it, but it does reward the effort.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
This isn't the first time we've read Graham Fulbright's work. We were quietly impressed by The Man With A Charmed Life and his part in saving the planet from WWIII.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Khazar Codex by Graham Fulbright at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Khazar Codex by Graham Fulbright at Amazon.com.
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