The Alexander Cipher
by Will Adams, narrated by David Colacci
When Daniel Knox takes a job as a scuba guide for a famous shady Egyptian shipping magnate, he never suspected that a little chivalry would make him a marked man, running for his life. When Gaille Bonnard stepped in as a photographer on an emergency dig in central Alexandria, she had no clue she was about to run into the man she blamed for her father’s death, nor did she see coming the storm of violence and intrigue that would soon engulf her. A few thoughts:
- The Alexander Cipher is a perfect archeology adventure book, drawing on all the things that made Clive Cussler a famous and wealthy man. We have hidden tombs, powerful villains, death-defying adventures, and treasure!
- The main character is headstrong, smart, ethical, and very lucky. It’s this last that plays the key role in the story as Knox runs from encounter to encounter, eluding death more than once and proving himself competent in ways we wouldn’t expect.
- At the same time it becomes a little ridiculous just how hated he is. It seems as if everyone in Egypt has a grudge against Daniel Knox. While the story resolves itself by the end, there are moments where the reader can’t help but think “What? Another person harboring a grudge against this man?”
- Assuming Adams knows what he’s writing about, you get a lot of the history of Alexander the Great from this novel. Adams does a great job describing the courtly battles and political maneuvers undertaken by Ptolemy and the other post-Alexander leaders to try and capture some of his glory. Alas, he makes Knox a bit of a pedant (something this blogger knows too much about, alas) who spews Macedonian history whenever he has a chance, including while he’s breaking into a tomb under a time constraint.
- I wouldn’t be surprised if this book made it hard for Adams to get a tourist Visa in Egypt. His depiction of corruption and graft throughout Egypt isn’t very flattering, even if it is true.
Colacci does a good job with the audio book, giving Knox an angry, raspy voice, and shifting effortlessly to other accents as needed. A solid thriller with decent characters and an intricate but believable plot. Better than Cussler, that’s for sure.