Monday, August 29, 2011

Review: The Egyptian by Layton Green

The Egyptian (Dominic Grey, Book #2)
by Layton Green
Release Date: August 21, 2011
2011 First Ward
E-book Edition; 325 Pages
Genre: Fiction / Suspense / Thriller
Source: Review Copy from Author

4.5 / 5 Stars

At a mausoleum in Cairo's most notorious cemetery, a mercenary receives a package containing a silver test tube suspended in hydraulic stasis. An investigative reporter tracking rogue biomedical companies is terrified by the appearance of a mummified man outside her Manhattan apartment. A Bulgarian scientist who dabbles in the occult makes a startling discovery in his underground laboratory.

These seemingly separate events collide when Dominic Grey and Viktor Radek, private investigators of cults, are hired by the CEO of an Egyptian biomedical firm to locate stolen research integral to the company's new life extension product. However, after witnessing the slaughter of a team of scientists by the remnants of a dangerous cult thought long abandoned, Grey and Viktor turn from pursuers to pursued.

From the gleaming corridors of visionary laboratories to the cobblestone alleys of Eastern Europe to a lost oasis in the Sahara, Grey and Viktor must sift through science and myth to uncover the truth behind the Egyptian and his sinister biotech - before that truth kills them.

My Thoughts
The Egyptian is the second book in the Dominic Grey series and I was looking forward to this one with eager anticipation as I enjoyed the first book, The Summoner, quite a bit.  There is a lushness to Mr. Green's writing that draws the reader into his novels, and makes you feel like you are right there experiencing the culture, the sights and sounds, and the events.  I was not disappointed in The Egyptian as that same quality of writing was definitely evident in this novel, and I was able to let myself be absorbed into the setting and allow the characters to draw me into the events of the story.  With ample twists and turns, suspense, adventure, action, and even a touch of romance, The Egyptian definitely lived up to the quality that was evident in the first book.

One of the things I really enjoyed about both these novels is the characterization.  Dominic Grey is a troubled soul, who comes from a very troubled background and was forced to survive on the streets as a youngster.  This shaped his outlook on life and trained him for his current job as nothing else could.  Yet, with these amazing fighting skills that he has, there is the soul of a wounded and troubled man, one who survives by a very strict moral and ethical code, one who is often troubled by some of the things he has had to do in his life.  The interesting dialogue he has with himself and others about this dilemna allows his human side to really shine through and makes his dark, brooding character so interesting and fascinating.  I am always drawn to these type of characters, and I don't know why I find them so intriguing!!

The other characters were interesting as well, although I do have to admit that except for Viktor, I don't think I found Veronica quite as interesting and mysterious as I found Nya from The Summoner, and I thought Stefan was too good to be true.  The interesting twist where Dominic has to deal with betrayal did add a level of depth to this novel, but I also liked how there are a lot of gray elements involved as well; many of the incidents and happenings that began in The Summoner did carry over in this novel and are still not quite resolved and that makes it feel more real and authentic; for example, Dominic is still dealing with his rather mixed emotions over Nya and is confused with his relationship with Veronica (even if I didn't quite buy into that relationship). Also, he is still bewildered by the hypnotic effects of the events in Zimbabwe, and the almost lethal effects they had on him when he was put in a dangerous situation; it scared him pretty badly and he's afraid it could happen again. With that being said, you can still read this novel as a standalone; you may just not understand the references to Nya and what happened in Zimbabwe although it doesn't affect any understanding of the events in this novel.

I found the plot to be a little more predictable in The Egyptian and as the characters chased around the globe after the elusive Elixir of Life, I found the really interesting dialogue, fascinating descriptions, and great characterization held up the plot, and kept it going.  While it was interesting, I don't think it quite had that same level of tension that it had in The Summoner.   There was a lot of research that went into this novel, and I have to admit that I had to read some of the discussions about the biomedical research/biomedical gerontology twice in order to be fully understood.  I was more familiar with the mythology/legend portion of the research and again, I have to commend the author for the extensive research that went into that aspect of the novel as well. 

The Egyptian was a worthy sequel to The Summoner, and although I was somewhat disappointed with the ending (and I'm not talking about the Epilogue), I enjoyed the characters and the trips to Cairo and Bulgaria as I loved the descriptive writing, although the parts of Cairo that were described are probably areas that I will never step foot in as they were dark, depressing, and dangerous.  I highly recommend both of these novels, and look forward to the third book in the series when it is released.


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