Tag Archives: thrillers

Amy Caudill’s Reviews : The Pharaoh Key

The Pharaoh Key by Douglas Preston

The Pharaoh Key (Gideon Crew series) by  Douglas Preston (Goodreads Author), Lincoln Child

Amy Caudill‘s review

Following the culmination of righting one wrong from his greatest failure in the last book, Return to the Ice Limit, Eli Glinn has summarily shut down Effective Engineering Inc., leaving everyone else, including his long-time second in command and friend Garza, and Gideon Crew, high and dry with no explanation or compensation.

While being forced to clean out his office, Garza discovers a long-running search has completed its function, and decides to take the data with him as he leaves.  Determined to get the best of Glinn for his apparent betrayal and get a better payout for their extensive efforts,(Garza;,) and make his last remaining months meaningful, (Gideon;) they team up to uncover the mystery of the Phaistos Disk, a legendary artifact believed to be from the time of the ancient Pharaohs.

Keeping their illicit mission under the radar from Glinn is not exactly easy, and neither is going into an untraveled and “forbidden” area of the desert which is under disputed control of multiple governments.  The two protagonists re plagued with troubles almost from the start, and are forced to team with a mysterious woman who claims to be an archeologist, but in reality is much more.

Their journey will take them into a settlement in the middle of nowhere that has been completely isolated from civilization, perhaps going back as far as Moses and the ancient Egyptians dynasties.  What secrets does the Phaistos Disk hold, and is the world actually ready for the truth?  This last adventure for the action-packed series doesn’t disappoint in terms of danger, intrigue, romance, and mystery.

I thought this book was a fitting conclusion to the Gideon Crew series.  Each of the three main characters has some resolution of their own.  Eli Glinn, having regained his health and solved his biggest problems,  finally takes the time to reflect on his behavior, his feelings for the woman he loved and lost, and the role his own actions played in the reactions of his subordinates/colleagues/friends.  Manuel Garza finds a destiny he never would have imagined, but also finds he is content for perhaps the first time.  Gideon Crew has seemingly made peace with his life and his pending death, though the authors don’t actually show that event.  Does this mean there is a chance there will be another Gideon Crew book in the future?

I award this book five stars and recommend it to not only fans of the writing duo of Preston and Child, but to any fans of adventure stories.

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Amy Caudill’s Reviews : Beyond the Ice Limit

Beyond the Ice Limit by Douglas Preston

Beyond the Ice Limit (Gideon Crew, #4; Ice Limit #2) by Douglas Preston (Goodreads Author), Lincoln Child
Amy Caudill‘s review 

This fourth outing in the Gideon Crew series by the writing team of Preston and Child also fulfills a fervent wish from multiple fans over the years to serve as a sequel to a previous stand-alone story by the duo, called The Ice Limit. 

While this book continues the storyline of the last Gideon Crew novel, it also includes the culmination of years of work for pre-existing characters such as Eli Glinn and Manuel Garza, who we have seen in not only the original solo book, but also in the prior three Gideon Crew novels and in a couple of the authors’ Pendergast series books as well. 

Glinn has apparently spent the intervening years gathering resources and making plans to return to the site of his greatest failure, and with his return to health after The Lost Island and the inclusion of Gideon, is finally ready to attempt to repair the damage done by the alien “seed.”

The nature of this creature, once thought to be a giant meteorite, eludes the explorers as they make their way to where it “planted” itself, in the “Screaming Sixties” latitude between the bottom tip of South America and Antarctica.  Is the creature, nicknamed the Baobab because of its resemblance to the terrestrial tree, plant or animal?  Is it a creature or a machine?  The crew members probe these questions even as the Baobab begins to exert its influence over them in inexplicable and later horrifying ways.

The combined efforts of Gideon, Glinn, Garza, and latecomer Sam McFarlane (from the original book) desperately try to stop a force that seems to undermine them at every turn.  Will they succeed in destroying the creature, or is the Earth doomed to be the breeding ground of more of these “seeds?”  The action and the drama don’t stop until the very end in this book.

I am a big fan of the two authors, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, of both their individual works but especially those they create together.  The two seemingly work seamlessly as one when collaborating, though I suppose after so many joint projects they probably have it down to a science by this point.  Their characters are engaging but flawed, each different but well-developed, and help to drive the story that already has a fantastically complex plot.  This particular book dips more into the sci-fi genre than many of their others, but the result is still well-paced and thrilling.

I award this book 4.5 stars for an exciting read, that those new to the authors and series can enjoy (almost) as much as those who have read any of the previous books.  I recommend it for fans of science fiction and thrillers alike.

Amy Caudill’s Reviews: Gideon’s Corpse

Gideon's Corpse by Douglas Preston

Gideon’s Corpse (Gideon’s Crew #2)
by Douglas Preston (Goodreads Author), Lincoln Child
Amy Caudill‘s review

Loner, scholar, roguish hero-with-a-death-sentence-on-his-head Gideon Crew is back with a new adventure that begins shortly after the end of the last book.  Gideon is once again in front of Eli Glinn, ready to tell the man off after the completion of recent events, when Glinn reels him in once more.

A former colleague of Gideon’s is holding hostages in New York.  The culprit is the most unlikely terrorist Gideon can imagine, but events place a great deal of suspicion on the now dead antagonist.  Crew, with the assistance of FBI Agent Stone Fordyce, are soon investigating a possible nuclear threat to Washington DC, with a trail of clues that leads back to Los Alamos before Gideon himself comes under suspicion.

Framed as a terrorist, Gideon must make his way through the wilderness with an unwilling accomplice to find the true culprit(s) before “N” day, when the nation will be brought to a halt.  But is the threat what Gideon and the multi-agency task force believe it to be?  Who framed Gideon, and more importantly, who can he actually trust?

This is the second book in a series by the team of Preston and Child, more famous for their Pendergast novels.  While there are some similarities between Gideon Crew and Aloysius Pendergast, the two protagonists are quite different.  While both main characters share a troubled background, like fine dining, and a have a knack for solving difficult cases; Crew is younger, rougher, and more likely to venture outside of the law and morality.  Crew’s partners and love interests tend to either die or not stick around; reinforcing the idea that crew is a bit of a loner, one who would rather live in an isolated cabin and go fishing than interact with others.

In the end of this volume, Crew has apparently made peace with the idea that he is dying, and resolves to use his remaining time to help others by working for Eli Glinn and Effective Engineering Solutions, perhaps saving the world.  While this speaks well for his character, I was a little disappointed to have the diagnosis verified.  After all, Crew is a young man (character) with a great deal of potential if allowed to live, and have more adventures.  Besides, I could see Glinn using the “death sentence” as a hoax to get his own way.  I guess I’ll just have to keep reading the series to find out which is true.

I award this book four stars for incredible action and plot twists, as well as developing an antagonist who achieved some amazing influences on the government and military without being a member of either.