Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The Last Oracle - James Rollins

Another outing for Gray Pierce and Sigma Force! Gray is dumbfounded when on the threshold of Sigma an old tramp is shot and thrusts an ancient coin into his hand. This coin bears the images from the ancient Oracle of Delphi, but what is it's meaning?

The old man is identified as a missing scientist and his body is for some reason incredibly radio active. So where had he been and what was he doing? Meanwhile an old man and an autistic child called Sasha appear in Washington, and the child's kidnapping causes panic for the old man.

Who is this autistic child? Why does she have a mysterious metal plate in her skull and what is the origin of her amazing talent. The trail leads to India and an old city created by the Ancient Greeks who fled from Delphi with a very precious cargo. It leads back to the Romany communities in Eastern Europe and a secret violation hidden since the Second World War.

So who are the bio-engineered children living in a giant cavern in the radio-active regions around Chernobyl? Who created them and for what purpose?

Only one man and a truly remarkable chimpanzee can help the children and save the world from a horrific fate. Can Sigma get to them fast enough, when a secret group in the US called the Jasons have attacked Sigma HQ and are threatening to destroy them?

Very fast paced with lots of action - it made me tired as I was reading it! An interesting plot and engaging characters. If you like chimpanzees (and who doesn't!), you will fall in love with Marta and her human child companion Pyotr. Have some tissues ready!

You will need lots of carbs to keep up with this one - a good doorstep cheese and tomato sandwich with a pint of cider ought to do it!

Prophecy - Peter James

So how do you like your horror? Do you like it British and set in familiar locations? Do you want to think that ancient evil lurks under the City of London?

Francesca Monsanto's life seems to be a set of coincidences. She meets a man and a child on King's Cross station and feels an instant pull of attraction. When she picks up a magazine that she would not normally read in the dentist and sees an advert from the man on the station looking for her it seems like fate. But is it a kind fate and a happy destiny?

As Francesca and Oliver Halkin kindle their relationship, things seem to spin out of control in other areas of Frannie's life. Things start to happen to her friend's from College - horrible things; and at times Oliver's child Edward seems to be very strange. Is it just the death of his mother that is causing him to behave strangely at times, or is there something more sinister afoot?

As Frannie learns that Oliver is actually Lord Sherfield, and that there is a very black sheep in his family's ancestry, does she pull back from the relationship or forge on? And when she puts the pieces together and realises that the bad things are happening to the group of her friends who had met for a session with a Ouija board in the cellars of her parent's cafe in the City, how does she stop what is happening?

The links to the Halkins and the Ouija session keep piling up, as do the bodies. How can Frannie and Oliver extricate themselves and keep Edward safe? And why didn't at least one of them run for them there hills!

Perhaps not for those with weak stomachs as the book contains some pretty inventive ways to die, and especially to be avoided by those who don't like lifts!

One to read under the covers with a torch on Halloween with a big mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows floating on top to keep you warm

Sunday, 27 September 2009

The Reef - Di Morrissey

Di Morrissey is a best-selling Australian author, but for some reason her books are hard to find over here in the UK. Most of her books are set in Australia, and some are historical. She often intertwines an historical storyline with one set in modern times. If I had to compare her to an author known in the UK, it would be Victoria Holt (showing my age!).

The Reef is the story of an island on the Great Barrier Reef called Branch and of a young woman called Jennifer, who had not had an easy life. She had been brought up on a small country farm in Victoria, but when she was still a small child her only brother had been swept away by a rogue wave on a seaside holiday and drowned. Jennifer was left with a dread of the sea and swimming and was further devastated when a eighteen months later her beloved father was killed in a fishing accident on the same beach.

Her controlling mother, Christina, sold up the farm and moved into a small town. Jennifer grew up and moved to Sydney, where she went to University and stayed with her Auntie Vi and Uncle Don. She met a chef in a cafe called Blair and after a few years they got married.

Jennifer's course at University was Environmental Science, which was something she loved. Blair's career in Hospitality and Hotel Catering came first, however, and he moved them both to the resort on the island of Branch.

Branch was a tropical paradise, but from the moment they arrived Jennifer realised that there were strange undercurrents and her marriage to Blair started to crumble. He expected her to live in a small resort unit and help with his career, but Jennifer discovered that there was another side to the island when she found Gideon and the Shark Bar.

Gideon introduces her to the crowd at the Research Centre, and Jennifer finds herself being drawn into their work and interests. She is introduced to Isobel Belitas, an internationally renowned marine biologist, who takes a keen interest in Jennifer and helps her to see the world in a different way.

Jennifer's unexpected pregnancy drives a further wedge in her marriage to Blair, who dreams of working in Europe. Also there are strange happenings at the Resort, and Jennifer does not know how deeply involved her husband is.

So what was happening on Branch and threatening the Research Centre? And would investigative journalist Tony Adams be able to get to the truth? Will Jennifer be able to protect herself and her unborn child from the dangers that swirl around them, deal with her controlling mother and put her fears of the sea to rest once and for all?

A good poolside book, so order a bottle of ice-cold dry white and a big bowl of peanuts and read it in one gulp!