Three point five stars.
Dante’s Key is a complex mystery set around the Knights Templar and the paintings of Botticelli, Leonardo, Raphael and Dante’s Divine Comedy.
The book opens with a prologue from 1217 Iceland, eighty Knights of the Templar order and their Grand Master seek permission to bury a precious casket, far away from the infidels and those who might use it for greed and power.
Present day, Manuel Cassini a professor of literature and expert on Dante has been invited to Paris for a meeting on New Year’s Day in front of the Mona Lisa.
A week earlier in Vatican City, Monsignor Claude de Beaumont appeared to commit suicide, his body was found with high tech equipment disguised as an Ipod. Interpol officer Nigel Sforza is assigned to the case. Two more dead bodies with possible links soon follow.
In Dubai, Mohamed bin Saif Al Husayn, an invalid, wears a sensory helmet which allows him to communicate via computer software. His company have developed a technology which allows the thoughts, memories and dreams of a human to be intercepted and influenced. A dying man, he is convinced that the Knight’s Templar held treasures which could heal all ills or grant immortal life. This has lead him to theories that medieval artists also knew the secrets and left clues in their artwork.
Back in Paris, Manuel Cassini feels drugged and confused as if he is suffering from amnesia, yet he is plagued with visions of incidents he cannot recognise. Cassini’s deep knowledge of the works of Dante make him a wanted man, but in this dangerous, twisted storyline there is more than one player wanting riches and power.
I was attracted to this book by the Knights Templar and I do enjoy the style of books of Scot Mariani which the tag line boasts this book emulates. I do think there is a good story-line within the writing, however for me it needs a little more work streamlining the writing. In places weak words water down the the suspense of the action, for instance the word “Suddenly” appears 92 times in the book. There are localised places where repetition of the same word is used for both sentence and paragraph starters, for instance “They”. Slimming down some of the sentences would make the action and main story-line more convincing, even at the end I wasn’t sure of the link between the artists and the Knights Templar, I got lost along the way.
The book is made up of lots of short chapters which jump back and forth in time, the technique is popular and makes good use of building of layers to the story-line, however for my own reading experience I found them to be too many and I was often left confused as to which was the main theme leading the story forward. There were also a couple of occasions where the author “head-hopped” mid chapter as to whose thoughts we were following which need sorting.
Over-all I liked the idea of the book, and for me if the book had another run through editing it could make it sharper, faster paced and easier to read.
I posted my review of this book on Amazon as part of #AugustReviews
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