zondag 1 september 2013

Book Review The Granite Key



Title: The Granite Key
Author: Nancy Wikarski
Genre: Archaeological Thriller


THE ARKANA SERIES: Archaeological Thrillers That Defy History
Volume One - The Granite Key

"Think 'MEDIUM meets THE LOST SYMBOL' and it only begins to describe the pleasures of THE GRANITE KEY - 5 Stars." (Kindle Nation)

A Wake-Up Call
In a nightmare, nineteen year old Cassie Forsythe sees her sister attacked by a man in a cowboy hat who demands something called "the key." Her nightmare mutates into reality before the night is over. Cassie is called to identify her sister's body--murdered exactly as her dream foretold. Cassie dismisses her vision as a fluke and fights to get on with her life. Disconnected and aimless now that her only family is gone, she drifts until the evening when she catches the man in the cowboy hat ransacking her sister's apartment. He bolts with an odd-looking stone cylinder--the granite key. From that moment, Cassie's normal world evaporates.

A Secret Society
She learns that her sister led a double life--retrieving artifacts for a secret organization called the Arkana. The Arkana's leader, an elder named Faye, explains that her group performs a controversial kind of archaeology. They scour the globe for evidence of ancient pre-patriarchal civilizations in hopes of salvaging the lost history of the world. Their network of troves safeguards artifacts from highly sophisticated goddess-worshipping cultures on every continent. Cassie's sister had the psychic ability to touch an artifact and relive its past. Cassie has now inherited this gift. Faye wants the girl to take over her sister's role in the organization. Cassie doubts her powers but agrees. Now an insider, she is transported to the Arkana's mysterious underground vault in the countryside outside Chicago where the group tackles the mystery of her sister's murder.

A Dangerous Cult
The Arkana learns that the man in the cowboy hat is a hired mercenary named Leroy Hunt and that he is working for a fundamentalist religious cult known as the Blessed Nephilim. He takes his orders directly from the cult's domineering prophet--Abraham Metcalf. The granite key which Leroy stole is inscribed with hieroglyphics revealing the location of a mythological artifact reputed to have mystical powers--the Sage Stone. Although skeptical of its legendary capabilities, the Arkana is still afraid to allow the relic to fall into the cult's hands. Abraham's fanatical belief in the power of the Sage Stone could be the catalyst to start a war of religious genocide.

Unlocking The Key
Before she died, Cassie's sister took photos of the strange markings on the granite key. The Arkana decodes the hieroglyphics which point to the ancient ruins of Minoan Crete as the hiding place of the Sage Stone. Faye hastily assembles a retrieval team including Cassie, her newly-appointed bodyguard Erik, and a British researcher named Griffin. The band of treasure hunters is mismatched and wildly dysfunctional from the start. Griffin has never gone on a field mission, Erik treats his inexperienced colleagues with contempt, and Cassie second-guesses her psychic hunches. She battles to prove herself to Erik at every turn. Their internal clashes rival the bigger crisis of what to do when they come face to face with their enemies.

A Matter Of Life Or Death
Even as they rake through megalithic tombs and Minoan palaces for clues, Abraham dispatches his son Daniel and hired gun Leroy Hunt to recover the Sage Stone. The Nephilim operatives won't hesitate to kill anyone standing in their way. Will Cassie and her teammates avert global disaster or find themselves casualties of Abraham's mania to exterminate the world of unbelievers? The Granite Key holds the answer.
The Granite Key offers a great story and decent writing. It doesn't reach the Dan Brown level - it's easy to compare to that book, since it has the same goal of offering an alternative history and suspense novel in one - but it's an intriguing and thought-provoking read all the same.

The book is probably intended for adults, but the older young adult audience could read it as well. It mainly focuses on Cassie, a young protagonist who watched her sister die at the hands of a mercenary, in a vision. The mercenary was after the Granite Key, a mysterious artefact that can show the location of the Sage Stone, an object with mystical powers. Cassie discovers she has a special ability. When she touches authentic artefacts, she can see their history. Her sister shared the same gift, and it's the very reason why she was murdered.

The setting was great. There wasn't a lot of time wasted on endless descriptions, but instead we got an action-packed story fueled with history, mysteries and ancient secrets. I'm a huge fan of history novels, history books, and the History Channel, so I really digged the quest for the truth buried in the past.

For fans of Dan Brown, The Map of Time, and similar books, The Granite Key will be an interesting, enjoyable read. 

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