Myth, mysticism and mayhem in 1970's Egypt...
Egypt, in the 1970ís and the country is in the throes of trying to find political stability under President Sadat. Not everyone is keen to see peace across the region; there are those whose political and personal ambitions would sooner see war and civil uprising Ė and the discovery of a long-lost artefact with legendary magical powers to influence events and even predict a personís death date would be an extremely desirable object to have in oneís possession.
Isabella Warnock is an Egyptologist and Archaeologist obsessed with the recovery of a mythical ĎAstrariumí; a device that is said to have been created by Ramses III, subsequently misappropriated by Moses and used to part the Red Sea and perpetually lost and found in the intervening centuries. Her obsession leads to an illegal dive in the bay off the coast of Alexandria; a decision her husband, Oliver, takes extreme objection to and ultimately changes the course of their lives forever. For Isabella, it is a swift death; for Oliver, it is a long battle to overcome his innate scepticism and scientistís wariness of anything remotely mystical in nature. It is an internal battle he must wage whilst avoiding the clutches of unseen, yet powerful individuals who seek the Astrarium for their own twisted purposes.
Sphinx has all the hallmarks of a gripping action/adventure story and T.S Learner clearly aspires to be considered a contemporary of Dan Brown; however, the narrative is like desiccated coconut: a bit flaky and lacking substance. Oliverís character, whilst believable because of his ineptitude at dealing with life-threatening situations, is concurrently irritating because of it. His preoccupation with reliving his sexual intimacy with his late wife is tedious, as is his liability to incorrectly asses otherís characters. The plot trickles along until several hundred pages in and then suddenly wakes up Ė albeit in a highly implausible way. A slow-burner, only those will the most strident of constitutions will make it to the end of what is essentially a passable story.
We interview C J Daugherty about Night School
- 10 January 2012