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4.3 out of 5 stars85
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 14 January 2013
Love these books by Sussman,sadly no longer with us,a great loss to the book world.
Have a love affair with Egypt,so slightly biased,but the archeological content is excellent and storyline exciting.
Sussman has a knack for dealing with and explaining the problems in the middle east in his writing ,
without bias and with compassion.
Do not hesitate to purchase these books.
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This is the second novel in the series by Paul Sussman featuring Detective Inspector Khalifa - the first being 'The Lost Army of Cambyses'. I purchased the two books together and I'm glad I did or else I would have missed out on this great gem! I really didn't enjoy the first book all that much finding the majority of characters so dull I couldn't bring myself to care when their lives were hanging in the balance. The one character that was interesting however was Khalifa who appears again in the second book as the Detective with a moral conscience. It is not necessary to read the books in chronological order as there are only a few passing references to the first book and The Last Secret of the Temple is by far the more superior of the two.

I won't go into what the book is actually about in this review as I think there is enough said about the story in the synopsis and in some of the reviews here but what I will say is that I've not read a book of this type that was this good since I read the Dan Brown's books a few years back. It is very easy to get into and the story does keep you hooked until the end. The book looks at religious conflict, racial prejudices and hatred, morality and power and it deals with these themes effectively without becoming too political or too sentimental. I can't wait for Paul Sussman's next novel and this one is definitely highly recommended!
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on 20 March 2015
Paul Sussman was the author of five adventure genre novels before his untimely death of an aneurysm at the age of 46 in 2012. This was his second novel and the first of his that I have read. It is a high quality adventure novel which ranks amongst the best of them. It is given a slightly harder edge by having an Israeli/Palestinian theme. An Egyptian detective finds the body of an elderly man at an Egyptian tourist site. This death, on investigation, appears to be natural causes but it reminds Khalifa of a case from fifteen years back. Alongside this is a Palestinian female journalist is sent a message with repercussions for the future of Israeli/Palestinian hostilities. There is also an object from Ancient times which falls into the hands of the Nazis. Sussman cleverly shortens the plot threads until one man is central and the race is on to find a priceless Jewish artefact. It avoids becoming formulaic even though it is staying faithful to its genre and there are a few good surprises along the way.
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on 6 June 2013
I think the first thing worth mentioning is, many reviewers professional or on here or wherever, are saying this is like the Da Vinci Code. But the truth is, it's not really, there are shades of it, true, just as there are shades of Indie stories and even the Odessa File, but that's all. I don't think it's an even comparison - in my opinion any way.

But what we do have is a story featuring very realistic very raw characters, in manner, language and attitude. Strong expletives throughout with a little sex. But it all works, it all fits, and there's even some supernatural stuff as well, not much I may add, but there is, a little.

Ok, that's the feel of the tale, but it is actually about Arab and Israeli tensions in modern times, dragging Egypt back into the picture in the form of an Egyptian detective working, badly, with an angry Israeli detective, over murders in Egypt and Palestine, both linked, hence the unlikely tie up. There's also a Biblical artefact which is central to the tale, which not surprisingly, means Nazis also feature due to their obsession with hoarding as much plundered gold, icons and fine art etc as possible.

The only thing I was disappointed in was the fact that the Egyptian station chief did not figure more. He's a really good character, and in the short space he has, is unintentionally (and I mean the character not the author) very funny.

I do not normally take to tales with Fs and Cs every other para, but I will if it's relevant and fits the characters and situations - this does, for sure.
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on 5 September 2006
I fell willing into the publisher's 'if you loved the Da Vinci Code you'll love this' trap and I'm so glad I did. No disrespect to Dan Brown who wrote a terrific single plot thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed but this is so much more. A complex series of interwoven ideas and characters from ancient Jewish and Christian history to the complexities and moral ambiguity of the current situation in the Middel East it's a heart-thumping, page-turning thriller, with wonderfully imagined,multi dimensional central characters. Well written- literary without being pretentious, good storytelling without dumbing down. If you read nothing else this year you have to read this.
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on 23 January 2008
In Egypt's Valley of the Kings a body is found, kicking off a series of events and discoveries for chain-smoking Egyptian detective Yusuf Khalifa. As he delves deeper into the dead man's background, Khalifa realises that there is more to the case than at first meets the eye. The story veers from the invasion of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD to the suicide bombings and inter-racial hatred of present-day Israel, in search of an ancient artefact that could send the Middle East up in flames.

Paul Sussman's second book is hard to get into. The fragmentation of the first part, as Sussman sets the scene from the viewpoints of several protagonists, almost lets the book down before it's really gotten off the starting blocks. But stick with it. From the moment the various characters meet and piece together the mystery bit by bit, the pace starts to hot up, leading to a triple crisis at the end and a superb cliffhanger in the final moments.

The publishers have used a quote from the Independent newspaper's reviewer for the cover of the paperback edition of the book : "The intelligent reader's answer to The Da Vinci Code". I guess this is referring to the depth of the background geographical, political, emotional and psychological scenery that goes along with the "explosive" plot, a depth clearly missing from Dan Brown's massive bestseller.

Or perhaps it simply means that all is not as it seems, and therein lie a number of explosions not caused by concealed explosives belts or underground arsenals.
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on 9 August 2015
Fantastic book - weaves great characters, politics, history and archaeology into an intriguing mystery/thriller. It's full of intelligence and depth, and doesn't fill every page with over the top action. Loved it!
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on 21 December 2014
This book seems to be billed as a thriller. I wouldn’t agree. It’s more of a mystery with thriller elements as the pace picks up towards the end. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting read even if I felt we didn’t really need quite the level of detail provided in a lot of instances. The plot also creaks a little here and there at one or two key points but not so much as to be unforgivable.
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on 24 January 2014
This is a gripping mystery with a lot of twists and turns in the plot, some of them not easily foreseeable - near the end it got hard to put down! And the last page remained with me... The characters are quite unusual and Khalifa especially is memorable. The bonus is the setting, which presents three angles on the Middle Eastern conflict: Israeli, Palestinian and Egyptian, together with the historical angle of Nazi Germany and a little of ancient Egypt thrown in for good measure - all evoked with a wealth of detail and background which brought everything to life.
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on 23 August 2006
It's not often you get both in the classic 'airport novel' genre, they're usually pretty brainless. This one certainly isn't. Set in the middle east and featuring a mixture of israeli & palestinian characters, i think it does a good job of illustrating the horrors inflicted in both directions without being partisan one way or the other. And the author doesn't let politics interfere with a damn good story, but the way it's interwoven gives pause for thought.

The adventure part itself is well done, not dry and definitely structured to keep you reading (I read it in a day). It has the usual cathar/templar stuff but for a change not really a Christian view point. The main character (egyptian detective) is really well written and easy to imagine as a real person, likewise his counterpart is all too human. The weakest character is the woman who is a bit bland and stereotypical in comparison.

The only other thing i found a bit disappointing and hence 4 not 5 stars was the twist which i thought wasn't needed and wasn't convincing with the character it involved

However if you like the Da vinci code you will definitely like this, and i am looking forward to reading the first book by the same author.
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