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The Sign of a Good Book
Sign of the Cross - Chris Kuzneski
Member Name: obscuredbykep
Sign of the Cross - Chris Kuzneski
Advantages: Gripping Read, Twists and Turns galore !
Disadvantages: Nothing at all, seriously great book
Those of you who read my first review since I re-joined the site, on Chris Kuzneski's 'The Lost Throne' will know that he is a write I was instantly taken with. So much so that I hunted down his previous two books, 'Sign of the Cross' and 'Sword of God'.
Originally, I began reading 'Sign of the Cross' when I worked at John Lewis. It was after I had began reading Dan Brown's 'Angels and Demons' which soon disappeared while I was half way through, gutted, I searched the shelves for something new to read, and I saw this book, the cover bent from someone carelessly reading it, the embossed lettering on the front, with the subtitle "No Secret will Keep for ever", well now, I was intrigued, and turned the book over to see what the blurb said..
"A Vatican priest is found murdered on the shores of Denmark....." well, I was taken, I took the book to my comfortable seating, got myself a Coke Zero, and sat down to read. Unfortunately, after a week or so, the book suffered the same fate as 'Angels and Demons' and disappeared from the shelves forever....
It wasn't until I saw 'The Lost Throne' in Tesco for £4, that my interests were spiked again, and I read the third book in the series, which was amazing (see my review if you are interested). After completing the book, I was left with a bit of a void, needing something else to read, so went online to see what I could get as cheap as possible.
I ordered the four Dan Brown books from eBay for a total of something like £7, and on Amazon, I found 'Sign of the Cross' and 'The Sword of God', each for just.. £0.01, yes, that is right, a penny each, plus the £2.50 or whatever postage, but a bargain nonetheless, and the books were in great condition.
Ok, now onto the book itself...
'Sign of the Cross' was the first UK book released by Chris Kuzneski, an amazing writer from America, it was released in 2006, and became quite popular, but still overshadowed by the likes of Dan Brown's work. It was even compared to 'Da Vinci Code' several times, some people suggesting he was just riding off Dan Brown's success, which wasn't true, albeit what I initially thought when I began reading the book to start with.
The book runs to a total of 607 perfectly written pages, and has something like 77 chapters, which are short and sweet, and keep the pace of the book perfectly smooth.
Sign of the Plot...
The book centres around 3 groups of characters, their stories running parallel, merging later in the book. First off, you have Nick Dial, head of the Homicide Division at Interpol, is called to a beach in Denmark, near to the castle where Hamlet was set. A Vatican priest, is dead, murdered, and nailed to a cross. Above him, the sign, "in the name of the father".
Why was a Vatican priest so far from Italy?
Why was he crucified the exact same as Jesus?
And what does the sign mean?
Then there is Payne and Jones, ex MANIAC's, the highly trained, super secret forces of the USA. They are imprisoned in Spain, arrested for no apparent reason, unless it was something from their past. The local police show no intention of letting them out, and with their past records, the USA are unlikely to want any publicity from getting involved.
Why were they imprisoned?
What will they have to do to get out?
Finally, there is Dr. Charles Boyd and his assistant Maria. Busy, delving deep into the mythical catacombs of Orvieto, the secret hiding place of the Pope hundreds of years ago, as they delve further, Boyd finds exactly what he was looking for, but before they can leave, it seems they have some visitors...
What did Boyd find, and what is he hiding?
Who is after them, and what do they want?
Kuzneski's Writing and My Opinion
Instantly, as soon as I read 'The Lost Throne', Kuzneski moved up to the top of my favourite authors list. While, one could say that it is very similar to Dan Brown's, what with the short chapters, switching between stories, eventually entwining them, that is where the comparison ends.
Kuzneski has much more power behind his style of writing, he doesn't waste sentences, he doesn't mash his words, the stories he writes are to the point, which is all the better when they are 600 pages... that is 600 pages of precise meaningful writing, as opposed to Dan Brown, who could spend a page rambling about some random fact, showing off the fact that he spend a week researching something, rather than, like Kuzneski, slotting it gently into the plot, making it seem an intrinsic part of the story.
The 'Sign of the Cross' was an intensely gripping read, while I don't think it was quite as good as 'The Lost Throne', it was definitely better than 'Sword of God', and smashed Dan Brown's books into the ground.
The twists and turns the plot takes are brilliant, turning the page brings an excitement, the end of chapters leave you either flabbergasted at what you have just learned, or eager to find out what is about to happen - but Kuzneski teases by flicking to another part of the story, which ends up being just as gripping as the last. The reader is constantly running from story to story, until they gradually meet in the middle, combining into something so dramatic and enthralling, that it would make a film which could crap on anything Dan Brown's books are made into.
I really recommend that you go out and get some of Kuzneski's books, for anyone who is a fan of Dan Brown's work - you will be impressed, and anyone who likes a good book, filled with interesting information, great twists, well developed characters and a plot so well written it reads like a film - go out, and buy it!
You can get it from:
Amazon, used = £2.76 inc postage or New = £5.73
Or look in your local Waterstones or Borders - the RRP is £6.99
Summary: Gripping Read, Twists and Turns galore !