Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Book Review ~ The Hidden Oasis

The Hidden Oasis
By Paul Sussman
Published By Grove/Atlantic Inc.

Summary (Goodreads)The Hidden Oasis opens in 2152 BC with eighty priests setting out under cover of darkness into Egypt’s Western Desert, dragging with them a sled on which rests a mysterious object swathed in cloth. Four weeks later, having reached their destination, the priests calmly slit each other’s throats.

Four thousand years later in present-day Egypt, professional rock climber Freya Hannen arrives for the funeral of her sister, Alex, a Saharan explorer. From the outset, Freya is suspicious of claims that Alex had taken her own life, and sets out to uncover what really happened to her sibling. In her quest for the truth Freya joins forces with Alex’s friend, English academic Flin Brodie, a world authority on the prehistory of the Sahara. Flin is also searching for answers—he has devoted his career to tracking down a mythic hidden oasis.

In this propulsive, nail-biting thriller —all the more engrossing because Sussman himself has worked extensively as an archaeologist in Egypt —we follow Flin and Freya on an unforgettable adventure.At stake are not simply the answer to one of archaeology’s greatest mysteries —the location of the legendary lost oasis of Zerzura —but also the key to the astonishing, terrifying secret that lies at the oasis’s heart.

Dislikes: There were some dry parts in this book that really slowed it down and made it seem even longer than it really was (622 pgs).  There were almost too many characters is this story. At times you would get a short 3-4 line paragraph about a character watching their son sleep, etc. more to remind you the character existed than to add anything to the story. I would have preferred them to just stay in the background until needed.

Likes: Both Flin and Freya were great main characters. Each had their own tragic back stories that added to their overall character. The author did a good job showing each characters flaws, and how their past mistakes made them the way they are, without actually telling you their pasts until it fit into the story. While it was easy to place these two as the good guys and there was one for sure bad guy, the rest of the supporting characters really left you guessing what side they were really on until the end. Even though they were evil assassins I really enjoyed the twins. They were disturbing and yet quirky mama's boys who only wanted to open a food stand and watch football (soccer). They also brought a smile in the last scene of the book, may not have been intended but it still did.

Overall: I'm not as familiar with Egyptian mythology as Greek and this book was  full of facts and intriguing mysteries surrounding the Sahara and The Zerzura. While long it was well paced and full of action that kept me reading. The twists were well done and some were surprising, who was good vs. who was evil. I can definitely see myself finding time to check out more of this author's work. 

Rating: 3 

No comments:

Post a Comment