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3.2 out of 5 stars
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3.2 out of 5 stars
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on 21 May 2008
At face value this book should be a good adventure/thriller. Along the lines of find treasure, avoid killers, use treasure to save the world (a little bit Indiana Jones). It does start out like this. Husband and wife team Kit and Stella are searching Yorkshire caves for the legend that is the crystal skull - after finding the secret clues in Cedric Owens' diaries. All good so far, Stella finds the skull but shock horror there is someone with them in the cave who will stop at nothing to steal the treasure.
Interweaved with Stella's story is that of Cedric, keeper of the skull during the 1600s. His role is to protect the skull and find where its world saving end will be based. I have to admit that Cedric's adventures in Spain and the New World wore more gripping than Stella's self absorbed tale. However it is the armageddon averting ending that ended the book which was probably the main let down, if you blinked while reading the end you'll miss it - in fact I probably did because by then I'd just lost all interest in what was going on.
This book had all the potential and the writing style wasn't that bad so I just don't know what went wrong. Perhaps its the fact that there are 12 skulls and you just expect more things to happen. Obviously read it if you're a fan of the author as you probably will like it, but if you're looking for a good thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat reading into the darkness then I'm afraid this isn't it.
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on 12 April 2008
I read all four books of the Boudica series twice and was looking forward to thsi book coming out. I have to say that i am glad that this is not a series, It was pale in comparison to Boudicca. The only parts where characters came alive was in the medieval timeline. The characters there came alive but the modern characters were utterly lifeless, and the storyline their was poor. In my view if the book had concentrated on the ealrier period and only hinted at the future, it would have been a far better story.
The story topic looked as if it would be a rival to the Da Vinci Code and when written by an experienced author I expected more than was produced. I think it is a case of authors having to produce books to satisfy the publishers and catch sales, thus they are not able to give their hearts to the subjects.
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on 16 August 2008
This book promised so much, but sadly failed to deliver. The characters had very little depth, and the ending when it came was little more than a whimper, rather than the glorious finale it could've been. There was so much potential available: the twelve other skulls, which were hardly explored at all; and the apocalypse, which was all set up nicely for December 21st, 2012, but which seemed to lack any sort of urgency once the day finally arrived. Sadly, like the rest of the book, it was all very anti-climactic.
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on 17 June 2012
Manda Scott has a flowing style with a rhythm that captures my imagination and my attention. Her writing is poetic and detailed at the same time; each word bringing more understanding and more images. I enjoyed reading The Crystal Skull tremendously and I know that I will read more of Manda Scott's books. As a matter of fact, I am planning to read as many as possible this year. Manda Scott is a talented writer, who is not afraid of researching the backgrounds of her stories, and totally deserves her success and more.
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on 24 April 2016
The Crystal Skull is, in many ways, the literary equivalent of candy floss – it’s nice once in a while, but you shouldn’t make a habit of it in case your teeth fall out. I bought this because the story line surrounds the theory that the ancient Mayans prophesied the end of the world on December 21st, 2012. This book came out a short while before that, presumably intending to ride the wave of publicity and public attention that the event would cause, and it certainly worked for me – I bought it, after all.

The crystal skulls from the title are ostensibly based on fact (I say that because it says that it’s based on fact on the rear cover but I haven’t done any research to check), with the theory being that five thousand years ago, the Mayans carved thirteen crystal skulls, which were sent to the four corners of the globe. Also presented as fact is that only by reuniting all thirteen crystal skulls can the world be saved from destruction on 21st December.

The plot follows Stella, and her lover, Kit, as they discover one of the skulls and begin a race against time to reunite them all and to save the world. As you can imagine, it’s a pageturner, and it’s easy to read and just as easy to forget about. It’s been a while since I read this book, and I can only remember isolated incidents – I certainly don’t remember either of the characters, which says something itself. But all of that said, it was still enjoyable enough, and it easily qualifies for a 7/10, which is my minimum rating for a professional quality book.

Interestingly enough, my copy of this book contains a sticker on the front which says “discover the legend of the crystal skull before you see the film”. I have no idea whether that film was ever made, but I’ve never heard of it – that said, I’d still check it out. In many ways, this book is like a Dan Brown novel, in that it’s basically designed to sell huge quantities and to be adapted into a major motion picture. I have no idea whether The Crystal Skull succeeded with that – I haven’t done the research.

So I guess it all boils down to the question of whether I’d recommend this or not. That’s a tough question – I think most people would enjoy it, but it’s the kind of book that seems impersonal. If it could appeal to anyone, then it’s not exactly a recommendation based on the type of book that people enjoy reading. It’s a good guess that the average person on the street would like it, and that people with an interest in conspiracy theories would be particularly well suited to it, but it’s simply not good enough for me to recommend it over anything else.

That said, a lot of work has clearly gone into it, and you can’t knock it for the quality – it just feels a little soul-less, and I like my books to be tormented. I probably wouldn’t bother reading anything else by the same author. What does that say?
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on 20 March 2016
When I saw this book advertised and read the blurb I was immediately drawn to it. Having read Manda Scott's previous books and enjoying all of them I was certain I was on to a winner. It started off well and with the exciting telling of Stella and Kit in the caves and the cliff hanger which eventually in this beginning..Then abruptly the scene changed to centuries ago and this continued throughout the book so that I never got to grips with the constant swapping of stories and styles. Potentially all the ingredients seemed to be there for a type of story I enjoy but as I continued through the book I found myself skipping, especially during the parts where the Cedric Owen part of the story takes over. I am not entirely sure why this book didn't grab me as Manda Scott writes well, but for me I gradually lost interest. I felt the ending was weak too. Perhaps knowing now in 2016 that the world did not end in 2012 flattened it a little? Sadly not for me but of course this is a personal opinion.
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on 9 January 2012
Story is wonderful. Very captivating. Since my last amazing book was KATE MOSSE LABYRINTH this book is also amazing same style format page turner and very excited specially connection between the two century amazing.
Highly recommend
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on 18 October 2014
I really enjoyed this book. The story goes from past to present throughout which I thought would annoy me but I actually really liked it. I like the authors writing style and look forward to reading more of her books.
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on 12 April 2011
If you like Manda Scott...you will deffinitly appeciate this one. Her female heroine is always a strong character and determined.
Very enjoyable.
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on 27 March 2010
This book was a revelation - no one had ever mentioned to me that there is a distinct possibility that the world as we know it will end on 21st December 2012. So I am extremely glad I read it as it gives me hopefully time to become a better person before I shuffle off this mortal coil, unless of course I get run over by a bus in the meantime.

The book opens with a short prologue which is a letter written in haste in 1556 from Cedric Owen Master of the Arts and Doctor of Philosophy at Bede's College Cambridge to Dr Barnabas Tythe, visiting professor at Balliol College, Oxford. Cedric Owen writes that he is in peril with a secret - a blue stone skull in the shape of an unfleshed man's head, which is his family's heritage and which he confesses has been in his possession for a decade, but he is of the opinion that it may be one of the skulls that were birthed together in the temples of the heathen ancients and sent forth to the world for the greater benefit of mankind.. He says that he is ignorant of the skull's true nature and that he is leaving England to seek help from any who might educate him in the stones' purpose.

Chapter one is set in the Yorkshire Dales in May 2007. Here we meet Dr Stella Cody and Kit, her new husband of one day. As a wedding present to his wife, Kit has taken her (a dedicated caver) at her request to a cave no one has ever seen, to find Cedric Owen's blue stone. But their wonderful exploit turns sour when they realize that there is someone who doesn't want Stella to have it, and they will kill to ensure she cannot follow her destiny.

This is a fascinating, compelling book, as the reader is taken on two journeys - the first being Cedric Owen's journey to Paris, Seville and many places in the New World. We learn of his unexpected lifelong friendship with a Spanish Captain, and above all, his search for his destiny with the blue skull stone. Whilst Cedric's journey covers a period of more than thirty years, Stella's journey covers a shorter period, May to June 2007. But both journeys are traumatic, as we learn of the importance of the blue skull stone, one of a set - all of which must be in position by 21st December 2012. And Cedric's journey provides the background to the present day.

I found the explanation of the number of skulls utterly fascinating, but I am not going to reveal this - read the book for yourself. It's one of those books that you will think about long after you have closed the last page, and that creeps back into your consciousness as you go about your daily life - scary, yes, but I feel I want to know even more of this fascinating subject. Highly recommended.
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Lizzie Hayes
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