Title: The Kingdom
Author: Clive Cussler
Webpage: Clive Cussler
Print Length: 416 pages
Synopsis: Texas oil baron Charlie King contacts Sam and Remi Fargo with an unusual request. He had previously hired an investigator, a good friend of the pair, to locate King's missing father in the Far East, but the investigator has also vanished. Would Sam and Remi be willing to look for them both? Something about the request doesn't add up, intrigued Sam and Remi agree. Thus starts a journey that takes them to Tibet, Nepal, Bulgaria, India, and China. They get mixed up in a centuries-old puzzle chest from an ancient Nepali kingdom and an extraordinary skeleton that might turn the history of human evolution on its head, and on the way they meet several unfriendly people with guns and twitchy trigger fingers.
I have not previously read any of Cussler’s works and was misled by the cover of this book. I was expecting something in the steampunk genre, or maybe fantasy. It was nothing of the sort, even though the first few chapters might suggest that it is. It is, in fact, a contemporary action mystery and while the intrigue of the plot kept me going for a considerable time there were several things about the narrative style that I did not enjoy. Firstly I found the characters rather stereotypical and two dimensional. The main villain was just nasty, with no redeeming features and his side kicks, his twin children and mistress were stereotypically sinister. The main characters were just too nice and their relationship two dimensional; their frequent endearing quips just got irritating. Some of the ways they got out of the situations they found themselves in were simply implausible. In contrast, the settings are magnificent and the Nepalese and Tibetan landscapes majestically described. This is one of those stories where you pretty much know how it is going to end, and so the journey is important. And it was the globe-trotting and the mystery which kept me going to within 100 pages from the end, by which time the narrative had taken a nose-dive and I simple lost interest in what it was the main characters were trying to achieve. So I closed the book and took up the next one which will hopefully hold my interest to the end.
What others thought
Amazon.co.uk; 116 reviews, of which 90% were 3* or more, giving an average of 4.4*
Amazon.com; 395 reviews, of which 93% were 3* or more, giving an average of 4.4*
Goodreads.com; 6,460 ratings (362 reviews), with 97% of 3* or more, giving an average of 4.0*
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