Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Tenth Saint by D.J. Niko

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Read: November 15, 2013

Cambridge archaeologist Sarah Weston makes an unusual discovery in the ancient Ethiopian mountain kingdom of Aksum: a sealed tomb with inscriptions in an obscure dialect. Seeking to ascertain the translation and the identity of the entombed man, she and her colleague, American anthropologist Daniel Madigan, stumble upon a lethal conflict. Tracking down clues in Addis Ababa and the monasteries of Lalibela, Sarah and Daniel uncover a codex in a subterranean library revealing a set of prophecies about Earth’s final hours written by a man hailed by Coptic mystics as Ethiopia’s tenth saint. Violently opposed by the corrupt director of antiquities at the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism, they’re left for dead in the heart of the Simien Mountains. Surviving to journey to Paris, Sarah is given another piece of the ancient puzzle: a fourteenth-century letter describing catastrophic events leading to the planet’s demise. Connecting the two discoveries, Sarah faces a deadly intercontinental conspiracy to keep the secret of the tenth saint buried. Risking her reputation and her life, Sarah embarks on a quest to stall the technological advances that will surely destroy the world.

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Contemporary mysteries and thrillers aren't my usual stomping ground, but I've been know to sample the genre when an author builds their story on a foundation of historic fact which is what led me to D.J. Niko's The Tenth Saint. 

Despite being one of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East, I knew next to nothing about Coptic Christianity when I began reading this book and though religion is not the primary theme of Niko's work, I really appreciated how she crafted the framework of The Tenth Saint from the principles of the religion as well as the cultural values of the region in which her story is set.  

Unlike most, this genre is defined by both content and pacing. I'm no expert, but many of the authors I've sampled have trouble not only building momentum, but maintaining. Niko suffers neither handicap. The Tenth Saint hits the ground running, but is compromised of so many unforeseen plot twists that it is difficult for the reader to anticipate exactly how events will unfold. 

Though I really liked the historical aspects of the book and how those details played into the secrets Niko buried deep in the Ethiopian desert, I would have liked to see her put more into the characterization of her leads. Set against such a rich backdrop, I couldn't help feeling let down by the relative transparency I recognized in both Sarah and Daniel and while this was by no means a deal breaker, I definitely felt it the weak point in an otherwise well-developed fiction.

Not flawless, but an altogether fascinating story steeped in both intrigue and suspense. 

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The way of the nomad is to accept everything as it comes: there is no anticipation of better days, no longing for the unrequited, no despair for loss.
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Check out all the stops on D.J. Niko's The Tenth Saint VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR

Wednesday, November 20
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Thursday, November 21
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Friday, November 22
Guest Post at A Bookish Libraria
Monday, November 25
Review at Just One More Chapter
Wednesday, November 27
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Thursday, November 28
Guest Post at A Book Geek
Monday, December 2
Review at Library of Alexandra
Tuesday, December 3
Review at For Winter Nights
Wednesday, December 4
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, December 5
Interview at For Winter Nights
Friday, December 6
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Monday, December 10
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading

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