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This review is of the paperback book "The Last Gospel" by David Gibbins, a book similar to the books by Dan Brown and the other conspiracy theory authors. Gibbins has written three other fiction titles which are similar, these are "Atlantis", "Crusader Gold" and "the Tiger Warrior". I've only read the former, but it was a good adventure story, which was put together well and very readable.
In basic plot terms, and without giving too much away, Jack Howard gets access to a library which has been covered up for over 2,000 years. The information that he discovers in one of those documents is of huge significance, and when certain people discover that Jack Howard has this information, they want him gone, and the secret left unknown.
The reason that Dan Brown's books worked is that they appeared to be believeable, and readers would ask themselves "could this have possibly have happened?". Inevitably the reader knows that they likely didn't, but it's important to be sucked into that realm of what might have happened. Unfortunately, with this book, it starts slow and never really engages the reader in my view.
The author comes from the field of archaeology, and has been a published author and teacher in the subject. This technical and historical knowledge does show in the book, which does seem genuine and authentic. Unfortunately, it doesn't necessarily mean that his writing style is of a high quality, and although it's not bad, it's not the best that I've read.
The book is long, the paperback book weighs in at 576 pages. This might just be a little too long, and there isn't enough action in the book in my view to keep the reader interested and believing in the story. The book is also really just a bit formulaic, which does detract from the reading somewhat, rather than you picturing Jack Howard's adventures, you become aware of what is likely to happen, and it then becomes predictable and a little drab.
When I was reading the book the author's interest in diving and archaeology did make its way into the text rather frequently, and in some bizarre places. It was almost as though the book was very heavily researched, and the plot almost fitted around the copious amounts of research that the author had done. That's why it felt at times more like a history book than a fiction title with a well developed plot.
The hardback edition of this book, which was published in February 2008, now seems to be out of print. However you can buy second hand copies of this book for around four to five pounds including postage on sites such as eBay and Amazon. The paperback version is still in print, and at the time of writing, retailed for 6.99 pounds, but is available new on Amazon for 5.49 pounds. If you're happy with a second hand copy, these are available for around three pounds including postage.
The book isn't a bad read, and I finished it, so it was enjoyable enough. There is an element of Dan Brown and Clive Cussler, but in my mind, this book wasn't as good as say the works of Clive Cussler. It's definitely worth a read though, as it can be picked up cheaply second hand, but there are limitations, and it's a bit long and predictable for me. Unfortunately just not as good as his first fiction title, and not as good as some other similar authors.
I tried to like this book I really did.
It says on the back cover of this book "What do you get if you cross Indiana Jones with Dan Browne? Answer: David Gibbins. Well this book sure isn't Dan Browne and isn't as believable as Indy!
Usually I love the way fiction can take you to different places, set in different times and puts you in the mind of any character dreamt up by the author. However I like there to be some basis of fact in the novels that I read.
This book just stretches the imagination to far for me to feel comfortable with. The reader is supposed to accept that the Emperor Claudius faked his own death in 54AD, meet with Jesus in Galilee and Boudici in newly conquered Britain, despite having a palsy. Then lived as a historical writer and died during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD. For me it just doesn't work.
Sure the hero of this story, Jack Howard, is able to dive, read Latin, read Greek, move around the globe at seemingly lightning speed Whilst gaining access to historical sites with ease. Of course Jack can solve riddles and codes whilst finding hidden libraries and texts. Admittedly not single handed, he has his sidekick (well who wouldn't?) Costa.
Ok, Ok, I will try and find something positive to say.... well its easy to read in a Clive Cussler kind of way and takes you to Rome and London. Describing some of the historical places I would like to see but never have got around to. I can see this making a fine film just like Cusslers "Sahara". If that is what David Gibbins was trying for I am sure a producer will be along very soon to make the movie.
This book is around 560 pages long it really did feel a lot longer, thank goodness I got it from the library and didn't pay the £6.99 it apparently costs. This is the first and maybe the last David Gibbins book I will read.
I tried to like this book I really did.
This is the first David Gibbins book i have read , after a good review from my uncle. Unfortuantley i couldnt understand what all the excitement had been about , the story was ok , it consisted of globe trotting , politics , conspiracy and history, its hard to know why i didnt enjoy the book as these things usually do excite me , the action of the book was fast paced but it just fails to grab you.
The story continually switches between the modern day and times of Jesus, which maybe happens too often to allow you to create a sense of time and immerse yourself with the characters, this leads me to my other problem.
The book left me no real link with the characters, i didnt care what happend as they were just words on a page , something other writers do much better such as Dan Brown and Simon Kernick.
My overall review is really that its not a bad book , you can pick it up for a couple of quid no problem , but this book may just be a marmite moment , you either like it or you dont , unfortunatley for me . Its the latter
As most of the populace are probably aware there are a few conspiracy books around at the momen, some popular book was published a few years alleging that Jesus had a son and I believe it sold a few copies.
Seriously it spawned a whole genre of conspiracy novels in which shadowy figures are hell bent of repressing the populace and are usually hiding some deep dark secret. These novels can be poor, aweful or just plain ridiculous and thankfully this novel is more of an adventure story than a conspiracy nut novel and therefore is far more readable as a result.
Whats the story?
Well imagine Claudius emperor who invaded Britain didn't poison himslef but managed to fake his own death to give him a chance to become a scholar which is what he wanted all along. He moves to Herculaneum but is killed in the eruption by Vesuvius in 79AD. However, as a young man he travelled and met a charasmatic preacher in a small village on the sea of Gallilee and he persuaded the preacher to write something about his teachings. Claudius has this document and gives it to Pliny who is also killed by the eruption and the document is long forgotten.
Move forward to modern day time and a underwater specialist finds a ship in the mediterranean and finds St. Pauls ship in which he was shipwrecked, in that ship is an unbroken ampoule and the story moves forward.
David Gibbins has created a rather likeable main character called Jake Howard, Jake is some king of ex-special forces who has created a team of talented underwater archaeologists, he leads the team into adventures and intrigues. The story soon moves from the wreck, to the ruins of Herculaneum via a cess pitt in Rome, rivers underground in London and finally to the final secret hidden in the book written by the preacher.
This is more Clive Cussler than Dan Brown and is intruth more of an adventure story than a straight conspiracy, set of clues, dodgy characters and implausible escapes from tight points. This book does have all these but it feels more realistic and doesn't overdo the shadowy figures trying to suppress the discovery of the truth. In fact the conspiracy bit could really almost have been taken out without really harming the novel but I guess its the flavour of the month.
I found the book far more like Clive Cussler as I mentioned and the characters echo the Dirk Pitt NUMA novels very closley. Jake is very similar to Dirk, his sidekick could be the same as the one in the Pitt novels and there is a company giving modern technology which allows them to solve the clues as they come along.
I think the best thing is that the writer doesn't use the short paragraphs and chapters so abused by Dan Brown and his ilk, he takes time to explain the stories and the historical point of the story.
I enjoyed it and would happily read other novels by this author.