by Philip Carter
Simon and Schuster
Reviewer's Purchased copy
"They didn't have to kill him . . . he never drank from the altar of bones."
In San Francisco, a homeless woman is fatally stabbed by an assailant she's been expecting for years—and her cryptic last words unlock a decades-buried secret that changed history.
In Galveston, an old man makes a chilling death-bed confession—"I am not who you think I am"—that serves as a warning to his sons of danger and deception.
In Massachusetts, a cold-blooded female assassin makes an insidious pact with a corporate billionaire over a highly incriminating film.
Each of these people has ties with a woman who, decades ago, fled a Soviet prison camp with an ancient knowledge people would sell their souls to possess
Drawn in to this web of danger are Ry O'Malley, a man desperate to outrun his own deadly fate; and Zoe Dmitroff, a San Francisco attorney who recognizes the slain homeless woman—a woman she was told had died nearly half a century ago. No one can be trusted in the corrosive game of cat-and-mouse that ensues—one that spans a century, from the frozen Siberian terrain to the serpentine streets of Paris, from the shocking revelations of a doomed Hollywood legend to the deadly machinations of the KGB and the highest office of the United States . . . and ultimately to the guardians of an ancient religious icon ...
A priceless artifact worth killing for. The dark and unimaginable promise of a power that could change the world as we know it.
This was on roller-coaster of a book. The term page-turner hardly does it justice. I was hooked from the first page and just had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next. Some if it I had guessed, which disappointed me a bit, I would have preferred it if the 'big kill' referred to in the book had been a not so famous kill already.
Nevertheless, the writing flows so well you just want to keep reading. It's a different sort of conspiracy, in that the reader knows quite early on what the altar of bones is and what it can dd. Maybe more mystery as to what it was would have been better because I, as a reader, prefer to discover things at the same time as the characters, rather than earlier than them.
Parts of it read like an action movie, but there is more depth in these 600 odd pages than a lot of films.
The characters were spot on, I adored Zoe and Ry, although I did feel the romance between them felt a bit forced. Just because we have a man and a woman forced together by circumstances as they evade the bad guys and find out the secrets of the altar of bones, doesn't mean they have to become romantically involved. It's not a rule or anything. Women will still read books even if there is no romance in it. Really.
Reviewed by Annette Gisby