The Atlantis Gene by AG Riddle

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The Atlantis Gene by AG Riddle

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Category: Thrillers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Loralei Haylock
Reviewed by Loralei Haylock
Summary: A fun, enjoyable thriller that falls back on a few over played tropes, but has enough that's fresh and different to keep it interesting. It lacks a little description in places and the cliffhanger is a bit annoying, but if you enjoy this sort of thing, the series is definitely worth the investment of your time.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 452 Date: April 2013
Publisher: Audible
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1940026015

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Clocktower agent David Vale is on the tail of a large terrorist organisation. He's been after them since 9/11, but the huge scope of the organisation makes them difficult to pin down or predict. His only leads are a few cryptic messages from the 1940s and research scientist Dr Kate Warner, who has become intricately connected with the terrorists without knowing it.

Both have only some of the pieces of the whole puzzle. The quest to solve it will challenge everything they think they understand about themselves, the people they know, and the origins of the human race.

In the style of Dan Brown, AG Riddle takes a pinch of truth and adds a bucketload of elaboration and imagination to create a globe trotting thriller that, until it's final stretch, is almost plausible.

There's a lot to enjoy here. Riddle's story is far reaching in scope, with plenty of twists and turns to keep the pages turning quickly. Preying on the insecurity modern, particularly western, society has about terrorism, the idea of a global terrorist organisation is a frightening one, and Riddle plays with the idea effectively - particularly in David's half of the narrative.

There are times when the story falls back on over played tropes - Nazis are the root of all evil, after all - but the origin mystery is relatively unexplored territory, in my experience at least, and the various threads of the narrative combined in new and interesting ways. Sometimes, in fact, there was almost too much going on - mysterious kidnappings, cures for autism, lost Atlantean cities, time distortion, portals, magical plagues... It was a lot to follow, but to Riddle's credit it all did balance out fairly well, and I never felt lost at any point.

The characters were likeable. David was a typical action hero, only with one characteristic not often seen in action heroes - vulnerability to bullets. It was honestly so refreshing to see him get shot up and then have to recover. Kate's bravery and determination in a situation she didn't fully understand had me firmly on her side from the get go.

However, this doesn't rise above the give 3½ stars because, despite the fact that some locations were used for large portions of the book, I never really felt routed in them. Riddle's writing felt a little like someone writing about a place they've never been to. He was sparse with detail in his description - a flaw that also applies to his fight scenes - which meant many things were never fully realised.

The ending is something of an annoyance, too - a clearly meant to shock and surprise cliffhanger, it feels almost like cheating. After four hundred and fifty pages (or in my case, 15 hours of listening) it's a bit galling to find that nothing's really resolved, and you need to read the sequel. Normally, I like sequels, but I'm so used to books like this being standalone it threw me a bit.

In audiobook terms, it took me a while to get used to the narrator. He had a strange way of intoning certain sentences, putting emphasis on odd words and lifting at the end like everything was a question, that grated on me for a while, and his women all sounded snooty. Once I'd been listening for a couple of hours, though, I got used to it enough that it didn't negatively impact my enjoyment of the story.

My thanks to the publishers for sending a copy.

Fans of thrillers may enjoy The Exodus Quest by Will Adams.

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