Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Two By Steve Berry

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I have been trading books with my friend, L, for decades. Lately, I have had the uneasy feeling that she is trying to raise my consciousness, so to speak. Could she be getting tired of receiving sackfuls of cozys, whilst giving me books with a little more substance? A couple of trades ago, she gave me a bunch of Elizabeth Peters books, featuring her Egyptologist/detective, Amelia Peabody, along with a sack full of mysteries by Stuart Woods. Not my usual fluffy reading material, but I enjoyed them immensely.

She then tried to run a romance in on me, but I caught her red-handed, so, she switched to Gothic mysteries, also by Barbara Michaels, who is Elizabeth Peters in disguise. I won't go out and buy any of them, but if she includes some in the next batch, I'll read and enjoy.

It was obvious that she was trying to prepare me for some of the deeper, historical novels that she reads so avidly. It's understandable. She's a historian. She has a Masters degree in the stuffy stuff, and has actually taught history to classes full of unwilling college students, and some of them even retained the knowledge.

So, this time, I found, mixed in with her other contributions, two books by Steve Berry: "The Templar Legacy" and "The Romanov Prophecy". She also included an eleven-hundred page novel by Colleen McCullough called "The October House". It advertises itself as "A sweeping epic of ancient Rome". She will have her little joke.

But, back to Steve Berry. "The Templar Legacy" is about a former U.S. operative, Cotton Malone, who teams up with his former supervisor to find the wealth and forbidden knowledge that was thought to be hidden by the Knights Templar just before they were exterminated in the fourteenth century.

Supposedly, if the wealth and forbidden knowledge were found by the wrong people, it could be the end of religion as we know it, and, moreover, would piss off the Pope. We are asked to accept a lot of assumptions if we are to swallow the main idea, which is that there was no resurrection. There is a lot of back and forth about how this is possible, and I'm sure this idea has been kicked around for centuries.

Anyway, it's a thumping good read, full of betrayal and heroism and crazies and a lot of it takes place in Avignon, France, which is where the Pope set up shop for a time, until Philip IV, aided and abetted by Pope Clement V, took care of all family business, and wiped out the Knights Templar.


The other book I read is "The Romanov Prophecy". Picture this: Communism has fallen and the Russian people are fed up to here with starvation and want to bring back the Tsar. Not just any Tsar, they want a Romanov direct descendent. The main character is a black man named Miles Lord, from Atlanta, Georgia who is asked to do a background check on one of the candidates. WHAT?????

OK. Well, it seems that Miles works for a firm that represents interests around the world who want a certain candidate to be chosen as the new Tsar. It is his job to do an in-depth background check on the candidate. His bosses seem to think he won't stand out in Moscow. Stop. Stop laughing right now. I know, it's funny to think that a black lawyer won't stand out in a crowd of Vodka swilling Bolsheviks, but this is fiction, folks.

Anyway, Miles hooks up with Akilina, a Russian acrobat who works in a circus (don't ask) and the two of them discover that they are THE two people in the world who can carry out the prophecy (Romanov Prophecy, get it?) of Rasputin, which he told to Alexandra, wife of Tsar Nicholas II, amd mother to Alexei and Anastasia, et al. It is widely believed in some circles of Russian society that Alexei and Anastasia survived the murders of the rest of their family. So, there's no telling how many direct descendants there are, or where they live. And, I'm not telling.

Miles and Akilina are chased all over the world by the Russian Mafia in their search for a true, direct descendent of Tsar Nicholas II.

It's another great read, exciting and full of everything you ever suspected about Russia during the Cold War and carrying over to the days of Boris ("I'll buy another round") Yeltsin.

I recommend both books.


Peggy said...

Thanks for the reviews Betty. I'm always on the hunt for good vacation reading titles. Looks like I've found two.

Kell said...

I emailed you earlier asking you to tell me again the books you liked that you got from your friend. I picked up The Templar Legacy at the library the other day and thought that may be one of them. Yeah! I was right. I'm only a couple of chapters into it, but I'm enjoying it.

Lorna said...

I need to make the time to read more.......I am jotting down your recommendations, Betty. Thank you! hugssssssss

Sister--Three said...

thanks for the reading tips.

You are lucky to have a friend to trade books with. I have a few that will trade, but since I don't read fiction and history of the Rev. and before are my favorites. I don't find many folks interested in my genre.

her indoors said...

can you say 'piss the pop off' lol i have got hooked on harlan coben books thing it was Kell or yourself tha put me onto them, so your reviews do work keep them coming

Annie Lou said...

Thanks for the reviews. I will read both books.

susan said...

I think it is so funny that your friend is trying to stir you away from "fuff". I happen to like fuff and would much rather read it over books of substance. Is that bad?

Newt said...

More books for my must read list! I have said I can't die till I get through all the books I want to read. So keep em coming Betty! Between you, Kel, and Tink alone I have added a ton!

Betty said...

peggy: Happy reading!
kell: The Romanov Prophecy is good, too.
Lorna, sister3 and her indoors: Enjoy!
Hi, annilou: Glad you liked them.
susan: She isn't really. She reads the "fluff" too. I was just tweaking her a little.
newt: Hope you get around to reading them.