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The worst book ever?
on 24 September 2012
The Lost Library must surely be among the worst examples of this type of modern picaresque fiction. The plot is numbingly predictable - amazingly there are two groups of powerful men (not too many women make an appearance, other than the central character) one of which claims to control all the world's 'knowledge' while the other is out to gain absolute power at any cost. The two groups play out their duel against an equally unsurprising background of political shennanigans in Washington while the hero character is sent to various locations as she is inducted into the 'good guys' and, via a series of cyptic clues is lead to attempt to thwart the intertwining plots.
The writing plods. The sentences are convoluted and strangulated to such an extent that the original meaning is often lost. The vocabulary is limited and where there is variety one suspects that the author simply clicked the 'Thesaurus' button on his lap-top.
The most depressing element is that the editorial errors and inconsistencies are grotesque. A few examples -
- the maps at he beginning of the book serve no purpose - they may as well be maps of Never, Never Land
- The main character manages her multi-national dashes between cities on only a few peanuts snatched during one of her flights.
-She boards a boat in Turkey at the last minute (the boat is actually moving as she does so) and then spots her 'pursuers' who were some way behind her, also made it onto the boat without her noticing.
- She manages to enter one of the key buildings and avoid detection as she wanders its corridors and offices (which are bizarrely referred to as the grounds) by the cunning ruse of using the washroom.
- One of her key allies flees his office at the Alexandrina Library only for his attackers to catch and shoot him yet he is found back in his own office with no explanation.
- The Alexandrina Library is closed on Fridays - as is normal practice in Muslim countries - and so how our hero even gained entry is a mystery
- the timings for jouneys between Heathrow and Oxford take no account of passport control, traffic etc..
- the British police save the day at the last moment, despite the fact that they are not routinely armed.
This book is so poor it makes one wonder whether it was researched (albeit very inadequately) from the comfort of the author's study via the internet. In any event, if, as it is claimed, AM Dean is a 'leading authority on ancient cultures', perhaps that is where he should direct his energies in future.