Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Codex

by Douglas Preston.

A quest for inheritance meets Indiana Jones…

Douglas Preston’s adventure-thriller arrived as a bit of a punt; while browsing through used books at my local Cancer Research UK, I found two novels high on my ‘must buy’ list but needed a third for the £1 offer. Intrigued by the name and ready for a treasure hunt, I added The Codex to my basket.

Ideal for a holiday read, I tossed this paperback in my backpack for a month’s excursion in Crete last year only to read 50 pages. Sadly, this became a common theme, re-reading the same 50 pages only to stall due to work or other commitments. Determined to finish, I took this novel home in June with one goal – Leave it completed or not!

The Codex is the story of Maxwell Broadbent’s, tomb-raider and billionaire, game to make his seemingly ungrateful sons earn their inheritance. Dying of cancer, Maxwell carts off his collection including a Mayan Codex, supposedly a medicinal cookbook of the Amazon, to be buried like an ancient pharaoh and challenges his sons to find him. Of course there is competition, in the form of ex-partner Marcus Hauser and down-on-its-luck Lampe-Denison Pharmaceuticals.

Sadly, this book can only be classified as a holiday read, at best. The main characters were less-than-developed stock caricatures that seemed to tromp through the Honduran jungle for entirely to long, often running into predictable debacles. Coupled with a sugary-sweet ending, Preston left me happy to pass this book along and pleased it only consumed a few hours of my life.

Given its baseness and pedestrian tempo, it is hard to recommend The Codex unless you are looking for something straightforward and unchallenging. Then again, the newspaper might be slightly more interesting?

Next up: As part of my new ‘hobby,’ EuSci, I have agreed to review a popular science book. I offer The Science of Heroes: The Real-Life Possibilities Behind the Hit TV Show by Yvonne Carts-Powell for your consideration.

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