Audio Book Review: Secrets of the Dead

The Secrets of the DeadThe Secrets of the Dead by Tom Harper

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Description:

In a villa on the coast of Montenegro, Abby Cormac witnesses the brutal murder of her lover, diplomat Michael Lascaris. The last thing she remembers is a gun pointed directly at her. She wakes to find herself at the centre of a diplomatic nightmare. Everyone wants an answer but no one wants to listen. Even her employers at the Foreign Office believe she’s hiding something. She is completely alone. As Abby tries to piece together the last few months of Michael’s life in order to get at the truth, she soon realises that he wasn’t quite what he seemed. What exactly was his relationship with one of the most ruthless men in the Balkans – a war criminal who has never been brought to justice? And what links Michael’s gift to her of a gold necklace with its Christian monogram, a 4th century manuscript left in the shadow of Emperor Constantine’s palace at Trier and an inscription on a tomb in Rome? When Abby investigates further, it becomes clear that someone wants to suppress a secret, one that has been kept hidden for centuries. And they will stop at nothing to do so…

My Review:

During a visit to the local library, I was waiting for someone else to make their selection (I had quickly picked up a couple of books that interested me; although my reading list is already quite long and I don’t need more books to add to the pile), and I wandered over to the audio book section. Secrets of the Dead sort of jumped out and screamed, “pick me, pick me”. So I did.

I’ve listened to a couple of podcast books in the past, but I don’t think I’ve ever listened to an audio book. To be honest, it was a pleasant experience. I discovered that I could do more than one thing at once, such as play Candy Crush or scanning the old family photos while reading. It was a win-win situation.

Secrets of the Dead is NOT the type of book, by that I mean paperback or ebook, that I would normally read. It’s too big worded for me, and there are too many foreign words. I’d stumble over the pages and quickly loose interest. However, listening to someone read the book was totally different. The narrator, Francis Greenslade, was excellent. He is easy to listen to and he made those difficult words blend in to the story and brought a complicated plot to life. I was impressed … and I learned the pronunciation of numerous words from him!

The book itself is actually two stories running parallel to each other — one historical and one present day. I felt the historical content was well researched and totally convincing. I ‘believed’ in the characters and the events. The only drawback was the flashbacks. After a while I found them a little annoying (even if the content of the flashbacks did move the story forward). The present day storyline was also convincing, although it took me longer to settle into this side of the book. It wasn’t the characters that troubled me (those I accepted straight away), it was the events taking place. Some things seemed too convenient. Anyway, I remember thinking I’d hate to get caught up in anything similar to what was happening to Abby Cormac. I’d be terrified. Both stories were a type of murder mystery and had certain factors that tied them together.

Overall, I’d be more than willing to ‘read’ another audio book. It’s the perfect way of discovering new authors and new genres. I’m glad I gave Secrets of the Dead a chance, and while I know I would never read an actual printed book by the author, I certainly would listen to another audio book written by him.

eBook Review: The Godslayers’ Legacy

The Godslayers' LegacyThe Godslayers’ Legacy by Lee Carlon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Description:

The gods cleansed Newterra, killing all but a few survivors. Dune d’Turintar, the daughter of a god’s chosen and member of Avril’s scattered cadre, has taken up the fallen Godslayers’ cause and will take the fight to the man who bound her at birth, Lord Obdurin, to make him answer for his god’s crimes.

For Avril Ethanson, Dune represents much more than his first challenge as Lord Obdurin’s newest first-sworn, she will force him to decide if he stands with the chosen or against him.

The Godslayers’ Legacy is the second book in The Bastard Cadre series and returns to post-apocalyptic Newterra to pick up the story where A God-Blasted Land finished.

My Review:

A little over two years ago I read the first book, The God-Blasted Land. You can read my review here. It’s difficult to pick up a story two years later and fall back into the plot and the characters. Although this was a bit of a concern for me when I picked up the second book, The Godslayers’ Legacy, I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I became absorbed in it.

Of course, the author’s writing has a lot to do with that. The story is fast-paced. Something is always happening, which is my type of story. I enjoyed the characters I recognised from the first book, and was happy to discover new characters who complimented them quite nicely. Put them all together and you have strong characters, with strong personalities, and they are as stubborn as anything. It makes me smile to think how this lot are going to come together and work together in future books. Now that’s something to look forward to.

I consider the books to be science fiction fantasy. By this, I mean there’s dragons and magic, as well as futuristic technology. I remember liking the way the author combined the two in the first book and I wasn’t disappointed in this regard in the second book either. It’s somewhat refreshing to read.

And although Newterra is an imaginary world, I can relate it to our world. And because I have a liking for imagining how I would cope in our world if everything was turned upside down tomorrow, I enjoy reading post-apocalyptic stories. It’s intriguing to see new ways of life blossom from the dead. And by ‘dead’, I’m not talking about people. I’m talking about technology, ways of life, beliefs, the strength to survive and carry on.

This series has it all – great characters, a fast-paced plot, post-apocalyptic storylines … and it’s well written. All this makes for a pleasant, absorbing, entertaining read time. I’ve already purchased book three, The Dead God’s Shadow.

Highly recommended.