Author: Tom Knox, 2012.
Genre: Historical Mystery. Conspiracy Thriller. Archaeology.
Other Details: Paperback. 464 pages.
If you dig up hell, you uncover evil… - cover tag line.
At the Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland Journalist Adam Blackwood encounters Archibald MacLintock, an expert on the Knights Templar who had always debunked the various conspiracy theories surrounding them. Adam seeks a quote from him about the myths connected to Rosslyn and MacLintock responds by saying that he had wrong and quoting Umberto Eco says "The Templars are connected to everything" and that Rosslyn Chapel really was the key. Shades of The Da Vinci Code! A few minutes later MacLintock dies in mysterious circumstances setting Adam off on a quest across the Templar sites of Europe accompanied by MacLintock's daughter, Nina, who is keen to uncover the reasons for her father's death.
Meanwhile in Peru anthropologist Jess Silverton is part of a dig unearthing artefacts of the ancient civilization: the Moche, a people with a history of blood ritual and human sacrifice. Yet are these practices really buried and forgotten? At the same time in London a number of wealthy young people commit suicide in bizarre circumstances.
Knox weaves these three strands linking the Templars, the suicides and the sinister rites of the Moche and also brings together his protagonists in the final nail-biting 100 pages. It may sound an unlikely combination but Knox makes it work with an unusual and fascinating take on the Templars.
Given the subject matter it wasn't surprising that as with his other novels the violence here was pretty strong stuff. Knox also provides a strong sense of place. It is clear from his acknowledgements that he has travelled to his locations and so captures a sense of the landscape and culture, especially of Peru. I always have admiration for writers who do undertake this kind of hands-on research. I knew nothing about the Moche civilisation and so Knox provided an introduction of this remarkable forgotten civilisation that has only come to light in the last few decades.
I choose this high concept conspiracy thriller to start off my Bout of Books 7-day read-a-thon as I was fairly confident after reading a couple of his previous books that I'd find it easy to read in a single day.
Currently the only print edition is UK but it will be published in hardback in USA/Aus in May 2013. However, it appears to be available on Kindle.