Sunday, 25 October 2009
The Nostradamus Prophecies by Mario Reading is based on the surmise that Nostradamus wrote a thousand prophecies but that only 942 have survived to the present day. The action starts when a gypsy named Babel Samana is trying to raise money by selling a manuscript containing missing verses of Nostradamus; the problem he has is that he doesn't actually have the manuscript but only some clues as to its whereabouts. Unfortunately for Babel one of the prospective buyers that he attracted was Achor Bale, a man who is a member of a secret society that is sworn to support the 'Three Antichrists' predicted by Nostradamus - Napoleon, Hitler and one still to come. And Achor Bale is also a cruel, ruthless man who will kill and torture mercilessly to achieve his objectives.
The other bidder is American writer, Adam Sabir who is just looking for a boost to his writing career. Samana entangles Sabir by binding him by blood in a cafe and giving him a couple of clues, before he meets his grisly end at the hands of Bale.
Sabir suddenly finds himself on the run, suspected of the murder of Samana, and following the clues he finds himself entwined in the lives of the gypsies, as the blood brother and new protector of the fiery Yola and her cousin Alexi. The trio must then try to interpret the clues they find and follow the trail to the missing Nostradamus prophecies, always trying to outwit the merciless, indefatigable Bale, and stay one step ahead of the police in the form of Calque and Macron.
Sabir has to immerse himself in gypsy cultures and learn their customs and their history to survive. The plot is very fast moving and moves through France and Spain, and is fairly violent, courtesy of the merciless Achor Bale.
Will Sabir and the gypsies manage to stay one step ahead of Bale, or will they suffer the same painful fate as Babel? Good read for the plane or by a pool - try a white wine spritzer and a ham salad on white!