If you have read any of the other books in this series written by Clive Cussler/Thomas Perry (previously Grant Blackwood) than you are pretty much assured that you know what you will get in this fifth installment. You are in for a bit of treasure hunting fun with a rich and superbly talent married couple. There are some bad guys, explosions, near death experiences and some scheming and conniving. While the series is a tad formulaic, I still enjoy the adventures of Sam and Remi Fargo.
After a serious earthquake in Guatemala, the rich Super couple, treasure hunting, amateur archeologists Sam and Remi Fargo attend the country to provide assistance through some hard work and delivery of medical supplies. On a mountainous hike to a remote village, they quite literally stumble upon an as of yet undiscovered Mayan archeological site. It is here they discover a codex that is set to turn the understanding of the Mayan people on its ear. Of course, things are not easy and they face off again hitmen, drug runners and a uber-rich villain as they traipse across the jungle discovering treasure, hidden Mayan sites and narrowly avoiding death.
When I was a kid, one of my (many) dreams was to grow up to be a globe trotting archeologist who would spend his life discovering hidden cities and ancient treasure. Turns out I did not become a Canadian Indiana Jones but the interest in such things has always remained. Regardless of any fault you find in these novels, they deal with interesting ideas. The story involves real history and real historical mysteries. While it might add information to made the story more exciting, it manages to make history fun. There is treasure and priceless artifacts. What is not to love.
While the characters lack any significant depth and they essentially possess any skill necessary to escape danger, they manage to be interesting if you accept them for what they are. Sometimes this means the storytelling is lazy as they always reach within the vast expanses of their minds to find the solution, it is fun in the way that McGuyver could get out a locked room with a q-tip and a stick of gum or the A-Team could build a functioning tank with a junk yard car, scrap metal and an industrial fan. Don’t over think it. This will not be shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
While fun, it is not especially creative. I would not read this series one after the other as it something for which you need to be in the mood. While you might eat salad every day for lunch, every once in a while it won’t kill you to have a meatball sandwich.
Sam and Remi Fargo are about as white bread as they come. You know they will always make the moral choice, use violence only when utterly necessary, will always help the downtrodden even when it puts them in danger and will never have a rough patch in their relationship. Yes. The characters are far too good to be true. Again, try not to over think it and you will make out just fine.
Can this Book Stand Alone
Yes. There characters tend to be reintroduced. There is minimal backstory and it plays very little into this story. If you are so inclined, you can read this one first with confidence.
If you are in the mood for a little literary junk food that has a sprinkling of history, treasure hunting, gun fighting and some saintly WASP’s, this book might be for you. The first three novels were written by Clive Cussler/Grant Blackwood. Personally, I liked Blackwood’s writing a lot more. I see that book six is using a new author so we will see where that leads us.
This is narrated by Scott Brick. I love the guy. He is my go to narrator for the action adventure type novels. He has a deep and overly dramatic voice that is a perfect fit for these types of stories.
It is difficult to find commentary on the sex/violence/language content of book if you are interested. I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading. *Disclaimer* I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as I read. I am simply giving approximations.
Scale 1 – Lowest 5 – Highest
Sex – 1.5
If kissing falls under sex than there is some sexual content. Sam and Remi are know to chastely lock lips from time to time. There is the occasional reference to Remi’s good looks and shapely physique and stunning beauty. There is nothing in the story that would make your grandma blush.
Language – 2
The characters tend to avoid adult language. There are few potty words here or there but Sam and Remi contribute very little to the swear jar.
Violence – 3
If Clive Cussler’s name is on the cover, there has to be some violence. There is plenty of shooting and quite a few bodies litter the jungle. Surprisingly, the violence is less than the previous novels and tends to be mild in nature.