The Heliopolis Scrolls by Johan Minto

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The Heliopolis Scrolls by Johan Minto

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 2/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The second book in the Marcus Hoag trilogy takes us on a hunt for obelisks in Rome and Egypt. A good tale bedevilled by poor proofreading and copy editing.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 242 Date: December 2009
Publisher: Shieldcrest
ISBN: 978-0956362315

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It was a telephone call which brought antiquities specialist Dr Marcus Hoag from the Vatican Museum in Rome to the Cairo Museum in Egypt and began an adventure which would see him searching for the Heliopolis Scrolls and the last resting place of Cleopatra. This time he's accompanied by Mark and David Conroy, his wife's twin sons by the antique dealer, Danny Firth. The adventure will take them through (and beneath) Rome, up and down the Nile and deep into Egypt. Solving the clues on the obelisks in Rome and Cairo is difficult enough, but they're pursued by government agents who will stop at nothing to get what they want. There's also the matter of some personal revenge for an old injury.

We first met Marcus Hoag in The Virtuous Saint when he solved the mystery of clues hidden in stained glass windows throughout England. He was accompanied then by his son, Paul, but Paul's wife, Louise is expecting their first child any day and it's down to the Conroy twins to ensure that their step father doesn't try to do too much. Marcus has ideas of his own though.

The plot of The Heliopolis Scrolls is on similar lines to that of The Virtuous Saint. Clues hidden on antiquities have to be solved before treasure can be found whilst dodging the attentions of those who would get the treasure without doing the work. But the settings (and the antiquities) are sufficiently different for this not to seem too formulaic. The substitution of the Conroy twins for the puppyish Paul Hoag was a welcome change and the inclusion of an Egyptian Inspector and his girlfriend, Sherine Kamil, ensures that there's always plenty going on. Whilst the outcome of the search for the treasures was never in much doubt in my mind I'll confess that I was more interested in who Sherine would end up with.

The book is well-researched and there's an obvious love of the places and antiquities although there is the occasional over-use of research material. That's a minor quibble though

Unfortunately my main problem with The Virtuous Saint has been repeated in The Heliopolis Scrolls, where it would appear that there hasn't been even basic proof-reading or copy-editing carried out on the text. Once again it's littered with spelling and punctuation mistakes and grammatical errors – even the back of the book isn't immune from the problem. It is asking a lot of the reader that they should have to try and deuce what the author is trying to say rather than simply reading the story.

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

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