The Tenth Chamber by Glenn Cooper

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The Tenth Chamber by Glenn Cooper

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: Less of the occult for this fantastical adventure writer, but perhaps that will be looked on as a pity.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: March 2010
Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd
ISBN: 978-0099545675

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The late 1890s, France, and two men stumble into a small, rural tavern delightedly exclaiming their discovery of a marvel in a cliff-face cave nearby. They get shot for their efforts. The modern day, France, and with the help of a fire a mysterious, encrypted book of great age and curiosity is found buried in the walls of a monastery. You would never think the two related - and neither would book expert Hugo, and his friend Luc, an archaeologist of the dashing and handsome kind. But they are - and the intrigue to be found in both book and cavern complex leads us through a bizarre adventure and beyond.

I have read all of Glenn Cooper's output so far, and found his first brace of books to be more than competent, in their evocation of a modern day beach-book hero, and mediaeval, religious times. Here we get the former, and to some extent the latter – the plot takes in narratives from 30,000 years ago as well as the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, alongside the modern era.

It’s satisfying to some extent how little of the plot I can divulge, for want of not spoiling this book, but the exploration of said plot that I hereby leave to you could have been better. There were times throughout I was wilfully thinking ahead and wondering where I might be led – and too often getting too much correct. It strikes me as this should be one of those books where we don’t get room to do so much pondering, but the pace is on the asthmatic, labouring side of breathless.

I’ve not noticed any clunky, cheesy dialogue from Cooper before, but we get some here with a noticeably cheap quality. This somewhat negates the more literary elements he brings to his popular novels – who else would have such a concentration of Frenchmen as heroes, or indulge in bringing twelfth century mythological lovers in to their plot?

Don’t baulk at that word, for there is nothing exactly indulgent in this book. There are mysteries to be had as all story strands reflect on each other, and the great underlying secret and all the ways in which it might resonate get revealed. But I felt there was a lost opportunity here – we could have had some real, and really interesting, modern day baddies cropping up, perhaps.

So there is a reasonable read within these pages – I still savour the erudition Cooper shows once again, as an ancient tome sparks off a story of wonders. I did see a lot of room for improvement, however – making the biggest wonder of the ‘what might have been’ kind.

If this book appeals then have a look at Glenn Cooper's other books?

Buy The Tenth Chamber by Glenn Cooper at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Tenth Chamber by Glenn Cooper at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Tenth Chamber by Glenn Cooper at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Tenth Chamber by Glenn Cooper at Amazon.com.


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