Author: Tom Knox, 2011.
Genre: Conspiracy Fiction. Historical Mystery. Thriller.
Other Details: Paperback. 419 pages.
The plot of this thriller unfolds simultaneously in two locations with separate protagonists.
Working in the cave networks in a remote area of France, archaeologist Julia Kerrigan unearths an ancient skull, with a hole bored through the forehead. After she reveals her discovery, one of her senior colleague dies in suspicious circumstances. Meanwhile photographer Jake Thurby is working in South East Asia on a travel book when he is offered an assignment by Chemda Tek, a Cambodian lawyer investigating finds at the mysterious 2000-year-old Plain of Jars.
The archaeologist, lawyer and photographer pursue their separate quests to uncover the truth linked to these archaeological sites and an underlying pattern emerges which connects these far-flung events, eventually bringing all parties together. It also soon becomes that clear that there are individuals who will stop at nothing to ensure these matters remain secret.
I'd plucked this novel from the library shelf, intrigued by its cover and title and found it a potent mix of archaeology, politics, ancient and modern history, science and religion. It also raised some interesting questions and themes, including the subject of human evolution and the origins of religion, not something one often experiences with a high-octane thriller. It was my first experience of Tom Knox's writing and I found it impossible to put down.
However, I would caution that there are some fairly strong accounts within of torture and mass murder, especially the activities of the Khmer Rouge and events in Cambodia during the 1970s. Tom Knox is the pseudonym of free-lance journalist Sean Thomas and his experience as a travel journalist is very evident here in how well he portrays the novel's dual settings of France and South East Asia.
Tom Knox's Page on 'The Bible of the Dead' - links to various subjects covered in the novel with photographs.