The Napoleon Complex by E M Davey

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The Napoleon Complex by E M Davey

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Category: Thrillers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ani Johnson
Reviewed by Ani Johnson
Summary: More Book of Fate duology gore-ridden, thrilling, no holds barred escapism based on Etruscans and deadly storms. Ed Davey's novels, hot chocolate and a log fire…all great components of a winter night in; just don't turn the lights out!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: August 2016
Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0715651087

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Journalist Jake Wolsey's brush with the Book of Fate and that fatal Etruscan lightening isn't over. Historical quotes, intrigue and a call for help from former lover and MI6 operative Jenny start a whole new search for the source of power and destruction. This time it's linked to Napoleon Bonaparte and the odd inclusion of an Etruscan scroll in his portrait. If the scroll is what Jake and Jenny think it is, where has it gone? Our heroes aren't the only curious people and, while their search takes them across the world, it's as much about fatality avoidance as it is treasure hunting. Who will get the answer first and at what cost to themselves… and civilisation?

We emerge from behind the sofa after Book 1 of the Book of Fate duet from BBC journalist E M Davey, only to find that the second and final book is here to keep us up at night. As Jake and Jenny combine their skills again (no, that's not a euphemism!), we're brought into a scenario where that Etruscan fortune-telling, enemy striking scroll seems to have been owned by one small, historically significant Corsican.

Adventure is a given where Ed (to his mates) is concerned. We're thrown straight into breath-takingly fast chases and death-beckoning peril that arrive often back-to-back. We also witness allied countries' intelligence agencies operating in a most unallied way. Remember the US admission that they bugged the offices of German government officials? We go one step further here and watch co-operating countries' organisations slug it out with Pulp Fiction (the movie) type violence. (Museums and caves appear to be places to avoid if any operative wishes to reach the safety of old age.) Having said that, there are some places in which Ed allows us to pause for breath and asthma inhalers.

These are the moments in which his characters reveal the painstaking research that's gone into this story. Ed has learnt a lot about Napoleon, therefore during the story so do we and it's fascinating stuff. The mixture of a historical figure plus conspiracy theory plus knowledge of the ancients may sound as if we're going into Dan Brown territory but, believe me, whether due to his background or just pure talent, Ed, for me, is the better writer. The history is also cleverly inserted, adding curiosity to the momentum.

The more pessimistic amongst the readership may mumble about 2-dimensional characters but for me that doesn't matter. This is an action-driven tale that ensures we engage with the characters sufficiently to plump for the two who matter and shed a tear during a particularly harrowing choice for one of the baddies. We fear for their safety while gasping as the surprising ends tie up and, believe me, there are some shocks in store.

This may not be a novel that launches pages of Times Literary Supplement discourse but who cares? Goodies with evil streaks, baddies with a sense of justice, spies, sadistic despots and a huge chunk of the known world as a backdrop; winter nights cry out for a bit of Davey.

The good news is that although the Book of Fate may be finished (metaphorically), there's another E M offering in production. This time the hints point towards the Stone Age. Pass the hoover, I may be going back behind the sofa again soon!

(Huge thanks go once again to Gerald Duckworth & Co for providing us with a copy for review.)

Further Reading: If you haven't already, do treat yourself to the first book, Foretold by Thunder. If this has lit an urge for more about Napoleon, we also recommend Napoleon's Last Island by Thomas Keneally. If you're already a fan of EM and more a thriller than a Keneally person, then how about Under A Watchful Eye by Adam Nevill or Finisterre by Graham Hurley.

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Buy The Napoleon Complex by E M Davey at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Napoleon Complex by E M Davey at


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