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4.4 out of 5 stars41
4.4 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 September 2013
Clever, pageturning thrillers are not to be taken for granted. Once you discover an author who has developed the perfect formula - intriguing mystery, three-dimensional characters (both goodies and baddies), gripping peril and action, drama and pathos combined, with just the right amount of realism - then you'll look forward to every book. James Douglas is such an author.

Probably best known for his fine Roman historical fiction written as Douglas Jackson (there are lots of reviews of those here), his present day thrillers are just as well written and researched, plotted and compelling, with threads running through of ancient mysteries and their more recent corruption, usually at the hands of the Nazis. The Excalibur Codex is the third in the series which features art recovery expert Jamie Saintclair and it is every bit as good as its two predecessors, The Doomsday Testament and The Isis Covenant.

As with all thrillers, I don't want to give anything away of the plot but it's clear from the title that we're dipping in to Arthurian territory here. Jamie is in need of a distraction and it's provided by old friend and collector Adam Steele who asks Jamie to follow the clues to the hiding place of Arthur's sword, Excalibur. The puzzle takes Jamie and his companions across Europe and further in the hunt for people who have distorted the past and even completely dislocated it from its roots and there is much more to it than mythology's most famous sword.

The Excalibur Codex stands on its own very well. I would recommend that you read the other two first but it isn't vital. The beginning of The Excalibur Codex is extraordinary - explosive, shocking and memorable - and sets the stage well for what is to follow.

Douglas's interest and knowledge of history is a real bonus in his thrillers and the meticulous detail, packed within adrenalin-laced action, is very effective. You have to have your wits about you as the story twists and turns, but so too does Jamie Saintclair. It is difficult to know whom to trust. The style is exciting, mixing narratives in the past and present, with a strong element set in Nazi Europe - always well done in this series. Jamie is himself an intriguing figure, especially in this novel where a shadow hangs over him, keeping him relentlessly in its grip and adding another layer of interest for us.

I bought The Excalibur Codex at Heathrow, fortunate to find it early, and it proved to be a true impediment to my sightseeing in Paris. It was, though, the perfect holiday companion. If you like clever mystery thrillers, with a touch of darkness, then you can do little better than this series which continues to stand out in quite a crowd.
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on 16 September 2013
When i reviewed the Doomsday Testament i said James Douglas had set the bar high,and when the Isis Covenant arrived i said the bar had been set even higher,well now we have the Excalibur Codex and i now think we have to move from the high jump to the pole vault, as the bar has got even higher.This mystery/thriller moves at a cracking pace from page one,as James Saintclair is pitched head long into a mystery that takes him into a dangerous hinterland where the loyalties and hatreds of the past live on,and the line between fanaticism and madness is gossamer thin.Once again James Douglas passion for the period,along with detail research set`s up a cracking story,i have been trying to place what type of hero Jamie Saintclair is,there is a little bit of James Bond,a bit of Indiana Jones and a touch of Simon Templar,but in the end i just add Jamie Saintclair to that list of all action hero`s.If this is your first outing with James Douglas,then you have the joy of two more Jamie Saintclair adventures to catch up with,while i will have to go and look for a pole for the next book,as i am sure that the bar will go even higher.
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on 15 October 2013
When I got this book on my Kindle, I was looking forward to following the next episode in the adventures of Jaime Saintclair It begins well and rattles along at a good pace, with a fair degree of mystery, excitement and bloody mayhem. The villain is soon identified, but that doesn't detract in any way from the enjoyment of the story, it seems to add to it, and the little twist with the Muslim terrorists tries to divert the reader and the plot quite well.

The tale is a bordering on the fantasy genre, but then, many stories in real life are. The history behind the book is well researched, if a somewhat embellished and a little fanciful, but then; if you want a history book then it would be best to look in a library. If what you want is a good, old-fashioned adventure (ripping yarn) story,then this is a good choice.

The author writes under a pseudonym, as he is also writer of historical fiction,(try them out as well) and this is the third in a series with his cheesy hero, Jamie Saintclair. If you have not read the others, it is not a bar to enjoying this book,
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 August 2013

At first glance you could be forgiven for lumping this book in with many of the other conspiracy thrillers that are out there on the market. The cover is a bit stock standard (sorry Doug). But James Douglas (AKA Douglas Jackson), has far to good a pedigree for something as mundane as a fanciful treasure hunt, there will always be greater levels, there will always be fantastic multi faceted characters. Characters that you find yourself bonding with on an emotional level, when chips are down and lives are imperilled or lost.

Jaime Saintclair is a wonderfully real character, he doesn't do anything over the top, he isn't a one man walking A Team, he isn't a hidden Einstein. He is a man who knows his art, and has the benefit of a good eduction, and a habit of landing himself in the brown stuff.

But it isn't just the characters who make this story. If it was just those characters and a splendid mix of action, adventure, ancient relics with the fabled sword of Arthur then it would still only be pulling slightly ahead of the huge pack of books of this ilk. But what makes this book is what the sword is wanted for, what it was used for, and what is intended for this country. Its this part of the plot that takes this book to a different level. It is at times disturbing, scary and in the current world climate, so potentially real its scary. (although my money would be on the USA rather than the UK... we don't have that level of polarisation within the nation). Its the potential for a new holocaust that left me feeling uncomfortable, disturbed and at the same time hooked, to see how it could be avoided. The ending of the book had a poetic quality to it, combing quite a few ideas of what the legend of Arthur may truly have been, and unlike many thriller left me as a reader feeling that the author and hit the perfect note after such a complex, disturbing plot (well done Doug).

Not only is Douglas Jackson the current master of the Roman Historical fiction, he is now (in the guise of James Douglas) taking the Historical Thriller market by storm and clearly heading for the top of that Genre too.

I'm ridiculously intrigued to see where Jamie Saintclair goes next, and what mystery he will unravel.

Buy this book

Also go to my blog (link on profile) to read author Q&A
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on 19 October 2013
You wish it was true. That Arthur could come back and save us. We will never know if he really did exist. I hope so.
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on 1 November 2013
I was in two minds about taking this to download having read so many other similar stories but I was really pleased I did. Lots of good historical detail and excitement. A great read highly recommend it to those who love adventure and intrigue
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on 28 November 2013
The start is a bit brutal, and maybe could give someone ideas !
The story is well interspersed with action and intrigue. Who is trying to double cross who ?
It reminds me of some of the earlier Cussler books in its descriptive of old & ancient locations.
I enjoyed it and ended up having difficulty putting the kindle down until I had finished.
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on 12 October 2013
Enjoyable book. Will be reading some more of this author. Kept me guessing all the way right to the end of the tale
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on 7 October 2013
i chose the 5 star rating as it was a very good enjoyable read and i couldnt put the book down. i have read 3 of James Douglas novels now and all 3 have been excellent

i found the plot and storyline well written and kept the reader,me,wanting to read more.

i would and have recommended James's novels to others
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on 30 December 2013
This is the third book by this author I have read and they have all been very good. Looking forward to his next one. There are so many books these days about ancient relics being hunted by the baddies but I think his books are superior to most. What more can I say?
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