On my recent book-hording adventure on eBay I managed to purchase a job lot of books for just under £10, working out to around 50p a book, in other words a complete bargain. One of the books in the lot was this one 'The Tenth Chamber' by Glenn Cooper. The original RRP is £11.99 and can still be purchased in most bookshops and internet sites like Amazon.
The book has 345 pagers and is split into 38 chapters; the book is divided into stories from 3 different millennia (30,000BP, 1118-1507AD and 'today') although the prologue is written in the 1800's. I found the cover of the book very appealing showing a red velvet covered table with a large medieval style book placed in the middle with a skull balanced on top, this is surrounded with a background that looks like a church with the stained glass windows, the cover also tell's you that the book is written by a best selling author and also the sentence
'A hidden chamber holds a devastating secret that could change the world forever'. As you can imagine it all sounded very interesting and it became the book I wanted to read first, it sounded like just my cup of tea!!
The chapter's are mixed and follow no time line and you never know what the next period of time you will read about, for example in one minute you finish a chapter from 1118Ad and then next you in the modern day, I did find this both good and bad as just I was 'getting' into a particular story line, it stop's half way and you begin another, this did become quite annoying and I did find myself re-reading certain chapters, to pick up at certain story line again.
The synopsis on the website is as follows...............
'Abbey of Ruac, rural France - A medieval script is discovered hidden behind an antique bookcase. Badly damaged, it is sent to Paris for restoration, and there literary historian Hugo Pineau begins to read the startling fourteenth-century text. Within its pages lies a fanciful tale of a painted cave and the secrets it contains - and a rudimentary map showing its position close to the abbey. Intrigued, Hugo enlists the help of archaeologist Luc Simard and the two men go exploring. When they discover a vast network of prehistoric caves, buried deep within the cliffs, they realize that they've stumbled across something extraordinary. And at the very core of the labyrinth lies the most astonishing chamber of all, just as the manuscript chronicled. Aware of the significance of their discovery, they set up camp with a team of experts, determined to bring their find to the world. But as they begin to unlock the ancient secrets the cavern holds, they find themselves at the centre of a dangerous game. One 'accidental' death leads to another. And it seems that someone will stop at nothing to protect the enigma of the tenth chamber.'
***THE CHARACTERS AND PLACES***
30,000 BP - In these chapters we are introduced to a 'clan' called the 'bison clan' these are 'hunter-gatherer' type. The story lines in these chapters are told by Tal. The story mainly centres on the clan living around the caves and the secrets held there, the secrets are the basis of the latter chapter. This story line has the least amount of chapters based on it and I was quite upset about this, as I found this one very interesting and quite true to the few real facts it is based on.
1118-1507 AD - These chapter's make up around a third of the book and centres around the life of one monk and his journey through life after discovering the caves. These chapters are told by a monk called Bernard and in the later chapters it is 3rd person from an unknown source all of the chapters are based in and around Ruac abbey. I did find these chapters interesting although they were slightly shorter than the others, and didn't really seem understandable and seemed to flit from one thing to another, it did become rather annoying.
MODERN DAY - These chapters make up most of the book and I didn't seem to be able to 'get' into these books as much as the other two. It is told through the eyes of Hugo and Luc, although a chapter or two are written by the resident mayor of Ruac these follow the excavations of the caves and the surrounding town, although there is a random chapter based in London. These chapters contain lots of sub stories and contain the obligatory love story (I hate these!).
1899 AD - This is the date in which the prologue is written and gives the reader a tantalizing view of what is to come throughout the book This is written in the 3rd person and briefly gives you a insight into some of the characters.
Overall I did enjoy this book and completed it quite quickly as it is quite an easy read. I was expecting something different to what I got; a lot of the basis of the story is a bit unbelievable and sometimes seems to drag over unimportant facts while rushing over important ones. I feel that more of the book should have been more dedicated to the history side as I believe this gave the basis of the 'modern' setting story. I would recommend this book if you enjoy fantasy thriller type stories who don't mind books that are not overly in-depth. I would recommend this book for an afternoon in the garden etc as it's not particularly a hard book to read.