When a sudden rainstorm disrupts an archeological dig at a remote Mayan site, site supervisor Deborah Miller makes an astonishing discovery: a collection of rubies so precious that generations of men have died - and killed - to possess them. Some believe the jewels harbor occult power; others believe they are the key to the arms race; still others see merely their potential for profit. But Deborah doesn't want power or money - she only wants the truth.
And so she sets out to trace the stones' complex history across four centuries and two continents, from Mexico to northern England, where the rubies once played a harrowing role in the Lancashire witch trials of 1612. But she is not the only one obsessed with the jewels; close on her heels is a notorious arms dealer who will stop at nothing, not even murder, to claim the prize for himself.
©2012 A. J. Hartley (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Reading is a passion and an obsession.
This is an intriguing, mystery/thriller. I saw a review for this book on a blog I follow. The review was rather scathing of it, which piqued my interest. I decided to see what all the fuss was about and downloaded it in audio book format.
The book is narrated by Tanya Eby. Other people who have listened to the audio book have commented that her narration was too slow, but I found her narration quite enjoyable. I do admit that her attempt at the British accent was off, but I thought she deserved kudos for trying. Not everyone is gifted with the ability to mimic accents, which is the hardest part to achieve when speaking or reading out loud; even trained actors struggle. Nevertheless, her speaking voice is pleasant to listen to, and is clear and concise.
Deborah Miller is a wonderful character. I really liked her. She is a museum curator, who usually sits behind a desk, but has been sent to a remote village in the Mexican Yucatan to oversee the excavation site of Ek Balam. She finds herself involved in a thrilling mystery, with danger lurking not too far away.
I started to listen to this book with an open mind, even considering the rather poor reviews on Audible. I found myself quickly pulled into the story and enjoying it. It's a thrilling mystery, with several twists and turns. The story is mostly told through the eyes of Deborah, but there are a few other characters who have a say. This, I feel, gave the story a more intriguing view, as it allows the reader to "see" what is happening elsewhere. However, as some of the other reviewers have stated, the story tends to be a bit long winded and seems to drag at times.
The history and Mayan artifacts seem to be well researched and described by the author, but some of the plot or sub plots seem a bit implausible. I can understand how jewels may have been transported to Mexico from England all those years ago, but I couldn't see what the CIA, MI5 and a Serbian arms dealer would want with a gem which had no monetary value or even material use outside of costume jewellery. Even if it could be used in a weapon, the refractory capability of such a poor quality gem would render the weapon useless. Only flawless gems with glass like qualities would work in modern lasers, not cloudy ones (or maybe I am mistaken to believe this is the case, as I was never very good at physics). That being said, the story kept me hooked and, after a thrilling chase from the jungle to England and back again, it crescendos into a massive gun fight between several characters, with Deborah trapped in between. The mystery of who the killer in the camp was had me guessing for quite a while at first, as there were several red herrings along the way. However, when their identity was revealed, I wasn't really surprised; I had a feeling it was that person for most of the story as they had a motive.
The story ended satisfactorily and left me feeling happy.
A.J. Hartley has written an intriguing thriller, which I really did enjoy. His writing style wasn't particularly as fast paced compared to other authors I have read, but his descriptive ability allowed me to picture the scenes with clarity. The flow was okay, but some of the scenes were a little on the long side, which made the story drag. However, I would definitely consider reading more of his books in the future.
I recommend this book if you love mystery, thrillers or suspense genres. - Lynn Worton
"Light Hearted unoriginal Adventure"
I can't say I loved anything. The pace was pretty good and the storyline kept me mostly engaged although it felt like other stories of its type and not at all original. There was nothing to love.
The Nosferatu Scrolls.
The accents were appalling which made any parts of the story not involving Americans hard to stomach. Couldn't figure out why the British MI5 agent sometimes sounded slightly Scottish, other times Irish and then slipped into Dick Van Dyke cockney from time to time. This was the same for the Lancaster accent, ARRRGGHHH! The Spanish accents were off too.
This is a light Adventure story, fairly well paced, but a bit too interwoven in places and lacking something, I went with the flow and was entertained though annoyed by the narrators accents. I was surprised not to like the main character more, in fact, there aren't any really strong or likeable characters in this book. Perhaps that's what is missing?
"Don't waste a credit"
I bought this as a "deal of the day" and I regret the purchase. The plot is needlessly complicated and far fetched. The narrator is a slow speaker, combined with the glacial pace of the plot, I actually moved the narration speed on my ipod up to 2x to muscle through the end.
"Just couldn't keep listening"
A better narrator! I couldn't make it past a half hour - I couldn't take it.
I may try reading it on my Kindle so I can give the story a chance
I don't know I couldn't keep listening
"I give up"
This was on sale, and looked like a good $3.95 fun time. I quit. I thought at least it would get me through the weekend chores, but it is just too dumb. I give it 2 stars for effort.
"The Most Delightful Potsticker"
This is not great literature. Any time I try to describe the plot everyone in the room bursts out laughing. But it is one of the most fun reads I've had in quite a while. It strings together'
Charles the 1st
Serbian Gun men
Women grieving for dead teenage daughers
Brittish secret agent men disguised as camera men
Lost crown jewels
I'm not making fun. I loved this book. It was an over the top delight.
It reminds me strongly of the Prendergast books. The same very improbable world view, but just so much fun. I can't wait for the next book. Or for the movie. Whichever comes first.
"A Decent Airport Reader lowered by Vocal Perf."
That's tricky. I knew what type of book I was getting into. Meaning that I got it on a Daily Deal and it seemed like a fun "leave your mind at the door" adventure. If the author comes up on sale again, I probably get him. Full price? Most likely not.
Sure, the logic was strained and there were a lot of subplots going on at the same time. But the history was interesting and the pace kept moving. It's an airport reader less sophisticated than Crichton, Brown or Preston & Child.
Absolutely not. I'm sure that Ms. Eby's voice lends itself well to the YA and romance genre but she was out of her element in this story. Her delivery is remedial and juvenile, particularly reading the men. I could almost see her puffing her chest, tucking in her chin and squaring her arms as she delivered those lines. And her British.....oh boy. I've read other reviews where they said that they could not finish the book because of the performance and I can understand why. I paid for it, so I finished it. After a while, I just learned to accept her voice. But I think Samantha Power would have been a much better choice.
If it was made into a movie, I would probably check it out, yeah. Mireille Enos type being the Deborah miller and Mae Whitman as the punky student.
If you can punch through the vocal performance, and I'm glad I did, it's a pretty fun book. It seems like it may be trying a bit too hard at times, but at least it's trying. C+ to B-
I found the Mayan archeological material and location interesting.
I found the diverse set of characters too complicated and scattered.
The only time the plot became compelling was in the final chapters. The problem was that there were so many threads that the story skipped between that the momentum of the story never picked up.
Sh was not good at accents of the various characters.
"OK at a bargain price"
Plot is farfetched with all the disparate elements involved. If you can suspend your disbelief it hangs together passably. Narrator's accents are distracting. For some reason she lisps on one of the Spanish names which is not consistent with Mexican prononciations and really bothered me.
"Couldn't finish it."
I bought this on the "Daily Deal" I figured it cost $3 so why not try it. It wasn't worth what I paid. I listened to about half of it and finally gave up. I don't know if it was the story, the writing or the narrator but I can say the combination was not good. Save your money and find something else.
The story starts out on an archaeological dig in the Yucatan. A new discovery is made and soon the problems start. Artifacts are stolen, people are killed. Deborah wants to learn more about what was found in the tomb so she follows the trail from Yucatan, to England, back to Mexico. There's plots and subplots that come together at the end. You learn about different places in both Mexico and England that were quite interesting.
The narrator was pretty good, although I was thinking Nick was English but at least half the time it sounded like she gave him a Scottish accent.
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