Jonathan Payne and his colleague and good friend, David Jones, reprise their roles as adventurers (one time military men with Payne being the leader of an elite special forces team) in this non-stop action novel about missing treasure, where Chi does indeed mark the spot, eccentric historians, deadly warriors who cling to an ancient way of life, crazy Kafka drinking Finns, an Interpol agent and mysterious Greek Orthodox Monks.
The reason why the two main characters work so well (this being Payne and Jones) is that their banter is such fun to read. The dialogue had me on more than one occasion laughing out loud. They form a good unit, complimenting each otherís strengths whilst working towards negating their weaknesses.
In this instance Jones and Payne find themselves in St Petersburg (Russia) helping Alison uncover the mystery surrounding the death of her employer Richard Byrd. I have to say that the author knows how to tease out the clues, set up scenes and create an atmosphere of Bourne-like thrill and adventure, even if you are sitting on your train commuting into work. The action moves from St Petersburg to Greece at breakneck speed as the clues are reasoned out and the next stage of the plot is revealed.
What I appreciated about this is that the author walks away from the now tired set-up of the Crusades, Templars, blood of Christ and Mary Magdalene, the scripture, lost scrolls in the Holy Land etc., and has found a new enigma for our seekers to hunt. It makes a brilliant change of scenery and treasure questing and allows other parts of history to be examined by readers who might not be as familiar with the ďnewĒ treasures being sought.
I found the history of The Lost Throne very entertaining and genuinely enjoyed how the author incorporated a well known eccentric historian, Heinrich Schliemann (he ďdiscoveredĒ Troy and Mycenae) who used Homerís books as inspiration for his discoveries, into the storyline.
I am hesitant to make comparisons, but I canít help but point out that if you like Scott Mariani, Steve Berry, (the most dreaded comparison of all) Dan Brown, Will Adams, David Gibbins and Sam Bourne, then you will thoroughly love and enjoy Chris Kuzneskiís The Lost Throne.
It is a well researched novel and it takes an interesting (and I hope fictional) view of an ancient warrior society in Greece. I found that the author treated the monastic society in the Aegean with great care, never vilifying them, which made a nice and interesting change from a readerís point of view, leaving you with enough information in the novel, to make your own mind up. I really am looking forward to the next novel as there will be repercussions from the end of this one to follow through. (note to author: hurry up and write!)
I would highly recommend reading The Lost Throne for good escapist fun, especially if you like your adventure stories with good dollops of history, lost treasure and a bit of conjecture. Find the authorís site here. Read an extract over here from Penguin UK.