The storm called Bodil is still passing overhead having shut down the railway yesterday here in Denmark. This gave me a perfect opportunity to sit inside and try to ignore the horizontal hail and howling wind with a book from a first time independent author, albeit one whom by his own admission has perhaps more traction than most.
Publication date 5th May 2013
About the author: “Scott Klug is a former United States Congressman, an Emmy award winning journalist, and a relentless world traveler. A long time student of comparative religion and archaeology.
“Over the last 20 years I’ve visited a number of sites in this book and I knew somewhere in between the dark alleys of Stockholm and an obscure Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka there was a good story lurking. I’ve always contended the occult traditions of major faiths have more in common than most people think. And just maybe there is an alliance of Holy Men of different faiths willing to battle together to put a stop to evil…I never really wanted to be a politician. I always wanted to be an archaeologist when I grew up…So welcome to my first novel. Think The Da Vinci Code meets “Indiana Jones.””
From the dust cover: For Father Pete Farrell, it begins with a horrifying phone call. The Archbishop of St. Petersburg is found hung upside down in the world-renowned Hermitage museum with his throat slit in what appears to be a ritual murder. Missing are priceless relics from an international exhibition. Left behind is a cryptic warning written in a mixture of ancient languages.
The one-time Special Forces soldier turned Jesuit Priest knows he can’t solve the crime alone. He cobbles together an unlikely alliance including a Rabbi, Buddhist Monk and Sufi mystic. But what first appears to be a simple case of stolen antiquities is so much more. At the heart of the theft is the malevolent director of a mysterious Russian lab dedicated to harnessing the power of the occult, and his protégé, a demonic Tibetan monk.
The four men of faith come face to face with an ancient evil, and uncover a sinister conspiracy whose tentacles stretch from Stockholm to Singapore. What they confront on a sacred Tibetan mountain shrouded in legend and myth will rattle all of them to their core.
Put The DaVinci Code and Indiana Jones in a blender. The Alliance is a fast- paced page thriller certain to entertain students of world religions, archaeology and adventure. At its heart is a former Green Beret turned Jesuit Priest with an expertise in the black market trafficking of ancient treasures. When you stare down evil, a few prayers can help, but so can a well-aimed sniper rifle.
My Ebook review: there have been quite a few reviews of this book already and usually I would leave it at that, but this was an interesting topic to me and focusing on an independent author whose own story is a little out of the ordinary seemed the right thing to do.
The blurb talks about The DaVinci Code and Indiana Jones and this is a very useful and accurate description. We have the intriguing and somehow semi educational plot line of a Dan Brown story melded with the action packed and half absurd heroics of a Lucas and Spielberg creation. The book is filled with interesting facts and anecdotes about religions and various important individuals; it walks the line of the hidden secrets and lost knowledge, the angry resentments that fuel centuries of unrest both within and between religions. It is also replete with the paranormal and the superhuman. This makes for a potent plot mix.
The characters cover the spectrum and as at least one reviewer has noted it seems at times to be the perfect set up for a joke, but in reality the characters are carefully chosen to carry the plot. The downside is that we are drawn in multiple tangents at times flipping rapidly from place to place. In part this builds tension and in almost equal part it was at times an irritation.
This has the feel of a well researched book. I said that about another tome some while back and was lambasted about historical inaccuracies by an expert in that particular niche time period, but to me what is important is that the historical references deepen the reading experience and drew me into the plot and made me consider that perhaps there was something more to learn about the subject.
Did I like it?: Yes because it hit the correct balance. The heroes did not have it too easy, the villains were not too stupid and there were plenty of genuine surprises in a plot that keeps us guessing. An entertaining page turner.