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The Last Templar

 

Title: The Last Templar

Author: Raymond Khoury

Genre: Mystery Thriller

Publisher: Dutton, p406

A murder in the museum, theft of an antique, vatican, secret of Jesus, Templars, ring any bell? Yes, it is a mystery thriller of Dan Brown type. But so what, as long as it is good I don’t have any complaints and it is a good read indeed.

While many historians and archaeologists still trying to figure out what made the Templars so powerful and also why did they were eradicated so cruelly on the friday, the thirteenth. Dan Brown took one assumption of Holy Grail and Mary Magdalene. Here Raymond Khoury takes another assumption of the secret about the miracles.

On the day of archaeological exhibition of the items from Vatican, a group of four people dressed as Templars ride in horses and steals many valuable items. The FBI agent Sean Reilly and an archaeologist Tess Chaykin tries to uncover the case through which they got to know about the secret of Templars which would shake the world if revealed. What was that secret and who stolen the items. Read on the novel.

This is a good read if you are a lover of mystery-thrillers like me. Except for few glitches it was just the same as Dan Brown’s. So if you are a Dan Brown fan, you’ll definitely like this book as well.

The secret about Christianity and various cults like Knights Templars, Illuminati etc., are the great sources for mystery thriller novel writers I guess. There are plenty of them available after Dan Brown’s success. I don’t know whether it is good or bad, but we get to know about lot of historical incidents that you can’t read in normal history books.

Here in this novel also there are many historical incidents and cults that I never heard of. Templar’s background, a sect called cathars and various other things. Also, the desperation of archaeologists of finding something big like Troy and Tutenkamen.

Read it if you want to read a fast paced thriller with some of historical titbits.

My rating ★★★☆☆

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And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

 

Title: And Then There Were None

Author: Agatha Christie

Genre: Fiction, Mystery

Publisher: Harper, p318

Ten strangers are lured to an island by a man called UN Owen. At dinner there was a recorded voice accusing all the ten of their crimes of murder and they would be punished. The murders start happening in the same way as a childhood rhyme. After few murders, they conclude the murderer was one of them. Who was it and how the mysterious murders happening? Has anyone escaped?

And then there were none, one of the best works of Christies I have read. A wonderfully plotted mystery novel that is so engrossing and I was unable to put it down even if I know I have something else to do.

The novel was short and to the point. There were no unnecessary descriptions of the places or the persons.  The language was so simple and Christie succeeded in making the plot so mysterious that it was really difficult to find out who was the murderer?

The murders and other events were happening so quickly that it is very difficult to analyze by us on the murderer. Many of my reasoning were proved wrong in the end. Of course this is why she’s being hailed as one of the best mystery writers of all the time.   

But I do wonder one thing, when we get to know about the laws in Muslim countries and communist countries about the murder sentence we argue that it is barbarian and these things should be stopped. But when the same ‘eye for an eye’ kind of things is were always likeable in fiction and we never hate the person who punish the guilty this way. Are the barbarianism is actually inside us all and we just refuse to accept it?

No prizes for guessing my rating★★★★☆

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby

 

Title: Fever Pitch

Author: Nick Hornby

Genre: Non-fiction, Sports

Publisher: Penguin, p238

Fever pitch was an autobiographical account of an obsessive Arsenal fan whose happiness, sadness and everything depend on Arsenal’s success or failure.

Most of us, Indian football fans, started watching English football from around 1996. That is the time when ESPN start telecasting one or two matches per weekend. That too most of them were United and Liverpool games. This would explain why India has lot of fans from these two clubs.

For the guys like me, who started around 2003/04 season, Arsenal was all. The invincible team on a great football ground (First renovated Highbury, then world class Emirates) with great players likes of Henry, Bergkamp, Vieira.  We don’t know the past. The period when the dying on the football ground due to hooliganism, wall collapse and lot more reasons.

This book explains a lot about that period which most of us do not know. We always habituated to imagine foreign stadiums are like this from start. No issues of spectator safety and comfort would have ever risen. If you are the person who always complains about quality of Indian stadiums, please read this book. In a country like UK, the stadiums should need more than 100 years to get improved; our stadiums are new and are in the process of improving. It will happen in time, so stop complaining.

The best thing about this book was that this was written in the view of a fan. I could relate to lot of things like planning the outings  and parties so that it would not affect him watching the matches, grumbling about the match whenever the team through away the lead and losing, we all do , don’t we?

The main part of the book is the 17 year trophy deficit until they won the league cup on 1987. The irony is now we are in the deficit of 6 years. So I could understand his feelings when he explains the joy he felt when the team won the league.

Also when Hornby explains his feelings after the team lost to Swindon in the cup final, I could relate it with the loss we suffered in the league cup final this year to the relegated Birmingham.

Fever pitch, another great non-fiction book I have read this year. If you are a football fan and following English Football for quite some time, this is a good read irrespective of whichever club you are. This book gives us lot of information that we would not possibly known from the period starting 1968 till 1991. If you are a Gunner’s fan, ‘Man, come on this is a book by one of us’.

No prizes for guessing my rating★★★★★

Only Time Will Tell (Clifton Chronicles #1)

 

Title: Only Time Will Tell

Author: Jeffery Archer

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Pan Macmillan, 384p

I read somewhere that Archer started writing Clifton Chronicles as he want to write something better than Kane and Abel, his best work so far.  ‘Only Time Will Tell’ is the first book of Clifton Chronicles that tells us about the young ages of the protagonist Harry Clifton.

Harry Clifton, Son of a docker who was being told his father was died in the Great War throughout his childhood somehow knows that wasn’t true. Raised by a single mother in a period when women hardly get any job, whether Harry able to fulfill his mother’s wish of getting him a better education and whether he learned the real reason of his father’s death if indeed he was his father, the book gives you the answer.

 I liked the way, the story being told. It was being told in the view of different people -Maisie Clifton, Harry, Old Jack, Hugo, Giles and Emma. He kept lot of open threads when the story was being told in the view of one person and close it when the concern person view is coming. For example, lot of questions about Old Jack was answered when the story takes his view.

I liked the part of Maisie Clifton. The struggles of a single mother who wants her son to get good education despite of many setbacks were superbly captured and you would definitely admire and pity her when this chapter ends. Other character I liked the most is Old Jack. His admiration of Harry as the son he never had and his efforts to fulfill Harry’s small wishes and get him good education makes him the most lovable person the novel.

Somehow the first volume of Clifton Chronicles did not have many incidents to like Harry as much as Maisie and Jack. I guess, Archer wrote this book as just the introduction of Harry and his background and future books will have more of him.

In few places, it reminded me Kane and Abel. Particularly the parts where sometimes we forget Harry is actually a little boy. Not sure why Archer always keeps his protagonists as over matured as a child.

Despite that this book makes a great read which would not disappoint you. Whether Archer achieved his goal of bettering Kane and Abel? Only time will tell when the sequels of Clifton Chronicles released.

 My Rating for this Archer’s novel is ★★★★☆

Before I Go to Sleep By S.J.Watson

It was pretty boring when no one there in Goodreads, so I just gone around the ads in the home page, there was an impressive ad about the book ‘Before I go to sleep’. When I checked the reviews and the synopsis, I immediately placed the order. Somehow I had an intuition that this book would not be a disappointment.

This is a mystery cum psychological thriller. Christine Lucas wakes up in the morning in an unfamiliar bedroom with an old guy. Then she has been told by that guy that he is her husband and she is an amnesiac who forgets everything once she slept. Then once he left for work, she gets a call from a doctor who claims they are working on her treatment without the knowledge of her husband. When she met the doctor, he gives her a journal which he says it was hers and she gave it to him for reading it once. What the journal contains? Who was she? Read on the book.

It was really wonderfully written novel that doesn’t make you bored in any page. The suspense and mystery gets intensified when you read on towards the end. The thriller part towards the end was also equally interesting.  

The story is narrated by the amnesiac, Christine, herself. So he keeps the narration in present tense as she would not remember anything happened in the past. When I was wondering then how would she tell us the background of the story, there cometh the journal, which she writes for past one month to update herself on what happens daily. The confusion of her whether she actually reads on her experience or some work of fiction and searching for evidence to realise that these were true are all perfectly captured.  

The writing style was very simple, except some of medical terms there were absolutely no difficult phrases used. Throughout the story, I couldn’t find any incident that I could put aside saying ‘this is not possible in real life’. The whole novel was of incidents that are completely believable.

I think I would add SJ Watson as another author whose next book I wuld wait for. He wrote this book so wonderfully that you would not feel this is his first work in any place, at least I couldn’t with the little knowledge of authors’ books i had read.

I guess this book would be a perfect choice for group reads etc., as this has a lot to discuss and would induce different opinions on the leading characters. The filming rights of the book was already acquired and I think this will make a great movie had the actors do justice to the roles. 

My Rating for this mystery cum psychological  thriller is ★★★★☆