When Gideon is approached by Glinn to steal a page from a famous Illuminated manuscript, on display in New York and in broad daylight from inside an incredibly secure exhibition, he has to think twice before accepting the challenge. What clinches it for him is when Glinn hints that a secret map with the key to a “miracle cure” is hidden underneath the text. A mysterious benefactor wants to find and distribute the cure that may possibly save Gideon’s life, as well as heal Glinn’s injuries.
Gideon finds himself summarily teamed with an inhospitable partner and recreating the voyage of Odysseus on the trail of a lost tropical island. While on the course of this mission, they will encounter the last remnant of a civilization straight out of myth, and face a heartbreaking ethical dilemma.
The authors skillfully tie this latest book into their prior novel The Ice Limit, which introduces Eli Glinn and Effective Engineering Solutions; the mission where Glinn met his first real career failure and received his crippling injuries. Glinn’s obsession and guilt over repairing the damage done on that mission to himself and others and undoing its consequences have overwhelmed his judgement. His entire team, not just Gideon and Amiko, as well as the previously lost island come into great risk from his actions and lack of self-control.
Although Glinn’s motives are partially altruistic, as the secret client, a fact not revealed till near the end, his goal to fix his biggest mistake ends up causing another catastrophe. He learns the hard way, and many pay the price for his hubris, that he is not fallible, and his methodology for preventing failure by mapping out all possible failures cannot conceivable account for every variable.
Glinn is forced to admit he needs Gideon’s impulsive, instinctive methods to counter and balance his own methods. Only his admission of his limitations gains Gideon’s continued assistance on the next mission. While the “cure” seems to be helping Glinn, Gideon does not appear to be so lucky, so the only real thing he has left to live for is the chance to do so good before he dies.
This story, a definite departure from previous books in the series as it takes several fantastical turns, is nevertheless an excellent thrilling adventure. Gideon’s character continues to grow as he wrestles with his conscience and awareness of his mortality. It is nice to see other characters are capable of growth and change as well.
I award this book four point five stars for originality and amazing action, as well as depth of character and plots that tie into the authors’ greater universe. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, but I may have to reread the original The Ice Limit book to refresh my memory before I go forward. Still, this book and the Gideon Crew series are must-reads for fans of thrillers and mysteries, as well as fans of modern day treasure hunting stories.