Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Seventh Scroll

We made it back from our Spring Break trip. It was a lot of driving and we did have to delay a day to dodge a blizzard but all in all it was a good time. And since there are now 4 drivers in our family, I got quite a bit of time to read :)

All told I read about 1200 pages during the 6 days. The first book actually took most of the time due to its length. The Seventh Scroll, by Wilbur Smith is the follow-up to River God and as you may recall from my January blog entry, River God was one of the best historical novels I had read in a long time. The Seventh Scroll was meant to be read after River God but it is not exactly a sequel. It actually takes place in the present day with a couple of archeologist types who are out to discover the hidden tombs that were depicted in the first book. What an intriguing concept! What we got to live through before is now seen through the eyes of history, including all the distortions of history that are bound to happen. Afterall, what we assume to be true through archeological research isn't necessarily the way it really happened.

The author does another intriguing thing in this book. He inserts himself into his own fiction, having a main character refer to Wilbur Smith as having authored the fictional River God from information uncovered in the first 6 scrolls found in the tomb. Of course it is the 7th scroll that the characters are after in this second book. This leads to some funny moments as the two main protagonists argue about just how accurate Wilbur Smith was in the first book; one of them goes so far as to dismiss Mr Smith as a hack writer who changes the historical record in order to include more sex and violence. It's a twisted loop whereby an author actually negatively critques his own work...I guess you have to be pretty secure in your own writing career to do that. Regardless, it works wonderfully here.

The book itself was only slightly less enjoyable than the first. When you get right down to it, this is a pretty straight forward adventure/treasure hunting story along the likes of "Romancing the Stone". But Wilbur Smith is an outstanding writer who has a knack for making you read just a little more and then still more despite any deadlines you may have to deal with. You know the two main characters will hook up by the end but its not predictable how that happens. The dangerous scenes in the book are really dangerous and the suspense is spot on. As for historical accuracy...everything sure seemed to be accurate based on my limited knowledge of ancient Egypt and my trip to that country a few years ago. I hadn't planned on reading this series this year but now I am already looking forward to the third book, Warlock, where we get to return to the ancient times and see what happens next!

However, that would have to wait as I had other books with me on the trip. More about that in the next post.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire