Saturday, April 17, 2010

Review - Book of Souls by Glenn Cooper

Book of Souls
by Glenn Cooper
2010 HarperCollins Publishers
Paperback Edition; 378 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-06-172180-9
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Source: Review Copy from HarperCollins

4.5 / 5 Stars

Summary (Press Release)
Only a handful know it exists...
It holds the world's most astonishing -
and terrifying - information...
But one book that is the key to the
greatest secret of all time...
is missing.

Former FBI Special Agent Will Piper solved - and survived - the "Doomsday Killer" case...and his reward was a forced early retirement.  But the shattering truths he learned about the government's most covert operations won't let him rest - and now he's on the trail of a mysterious volume that's been lost for six centuries.  This is the book that inspired Shakespeare and the prophecies of Nostradamus, and once Will gets his hands on it, his life will be worth nothing - his death sentence a top priority handed down from the very high levels of power.

Because there are some truths too dangerous for anyone to know - those that concern the future, world domination...and the end of everything.

My Thoughts
Books of Souls takes place about 18 months after "Secret of the Seventh Son".  If you have not read the first book, I would highly recommend it as you will miss a lot of what is going on in this novel as it makes reference to many events that happened in the 'Seventh Son'.  You will still greatly enjoy this book if you haven't read the first one, but some things may be confusing to you as the author assumes that you have read the first one when referencing events.

That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.  I got caught up in its grip right from the beginning and couldn't wait to get back to it every night.  Throw in a mystery, secrets from hundreds of years ago, a quest, a chase, and you have all of the elements that I absolutely love.  All of this begins when Will goes out running one day, moaning the fact that he is bored and looking for adventure in his life, and discovers that he is being followed.  Those following him belonged to a secret organization that has deep ties to the "Doomsday Case" and soon Will is plunged back into the terror and conspiracy he thought he left behind him. 

In his search for long-lost secrets and a secret puzzle found in a book bought by those who were following him, Will heads to England and discovers lost information from Will Shakespeare, Nostradamus, and John Calvin.  In order to give important information to the reader, the author deftly moves the reader back and forth between the present and the past, entertwining the stories with great skill.  We learn more about the famous Library, the origins of the books that have caused so many problems for Will, and how that information was passed down though the years.  This style of storytelling is quite common for those who are very familiar with these types of mystery/thriller/suspense/archaeological novels.  And it always adds a little something to the story.  It is definitely something I enjoy and looked forward to reading in this novel.

The plot certainly had a lot of twists and suprises, never slowing down, but never going fast to the point where I couldn't figure out what was going on.  Some things did catch me by surprise and some people died who I was hoping would live.  I thoroughly enjoyed the quest and the search for the artifacts when Will was in England, but that is the kind of thing I really enjoy and it was what drew me to the novel in the first place.  The search for ancient treasure and the search for long-lost letters and information always catches my attention and I love reading about it. 

As always, it's the character development that I truly enjoy and Will Piper is a fascinating figure.  There were moments where I didn't really like him in this novel as he is definitely a flawed character.  But then, who isn't?  You don't seen as much of Nancy in this one as she is at home taking care of their son, but she does help him in certain spots when he looking for information concerning the Book.  Will does do some things that aren't flattering to himself, and as he has issues with alcohol; whenever he drinks he does something he shouldn't.  I don't want to give away any spoilers, so I won't mention what happens, but it does make me think less of him.  In redemption, however, his drinking does save his family later on in the novel, so the circle does complete itself.  He goes through a moment of reflection when he returns to visit Shacketon and realizes he is not always the best person and doesn't always treat Nancy the way she deserves, and I like him much better after that.

I truly enjoyed this book.  What I found really fascinating is the concept of choice; once the world knows that books exist with the information about your birth date and the date of your death, what do you do?  One of the reasons I only gave the novel 4.5 out of 5 is that I don't think it really dealt with this weighty issue enough.  Should the government keep this information secret or should it be given to the world?  And then, what do you do with it?  Should nurses and doctors have the right to that information in making their diagnosis?  What if someone doesn't want to know, but that information is given to them anyways?  What are the ramifications?  The possibilities are endless and utterly fascinating.  The author left the ending open in such a way that there is the possiblity of a third book in this series.  I would love to see what Glenn Cooper would do with Will Piper and the Book and the utterly amazing story he has created.


  1. Hmmm...I've never heard of these books before, but since you enjoyed them so much, I think I'm going to have to add them to my TBR list. The idea definitely sounds interesting. Thanks for the review! :)

  2. Stopped by from Friday Follow...and always looking for a good book. Thanks for your reviews. Now following...