The story is written from the perspective of three characters each of which is communicating by writing letters. It concerns an old detective at a nursing home who reports in letter form to a relative of an old woman about his investigations of the wowan’s fianc? when she was young. Simultaneously there is a journal from the fianc? who is an explorer of Egyptian antiquity trying to find the tomb of a long lost king. There was a disappearance of some other explorers a long time ago and the detective was trying to solve the murder many years ago. The plot goes over the old events via these letters, plus some letters from the woman to her fianc?.
The reviews of this book were very favorable. I found the story boring and repetitive. Many of the passages kept being repeated over and over again. I guessed the major conclusion of the novel early on and by the time the story finally revealed the answers, I had long since lost interest and become angry for making me wait so long for nothing new and exciting. I do not recommend this book.
Despite the 'exotic' setting, this is not a high adventure novel, but rather a grim tale about desperately unhappy and self-delusional people. The writing is as dry as the desert and the action slow paced and methodical.
Part of the difficulty with this book is that it's hard to like either of the two main narrators. One is an unbelievably pompous amateur scholar who seems to be blissfully oblivious to everything and everyone around him; the other is a hard boiled detective attempting to relive his glory days by writing long self-promotional missives to an unseen acquaintance on the other side of the world. While annoying at first, it is the author's attention to too much detail that adds humor to the story. From Professor Trilipush's exaggerated autobiography and over-analyzed conversations with the likes of Howard Carter, to Farrell's impressions of potential clients and projected feelings for the wrong woman (not to give too much away), it becomes apparent that the reader should not be sympathizing with the characters so much as ridiculing them even as they narrative their own stories.
One thing is certain, however. Those expecting a quick, fun, adventurous read will be sorely disappointed. The humor - and there's a lot of it - is more in the style of Dorothy Parker than Elizabeth Peters. The book is challenging, but if you're up to it, you'll find it rewarding in the end.
This is a fairly convoluted story that really requires the listener's full attention. All is not as it seems, which made for some cool scenes and "wait - did he just do that?" moments, but the whole thing is told through a number of different voices, some speaking "in the moment", others remniscing back...it's confusing at times. It takes you an hour or two just to figure out the relationship between the different characters.
That, in an of itself is not necessarily a problem - but it has to come together into a solid web at some point, which this story fails to do.
It tries a lame attempt at a dramatic ending, which again falls short, and leaves me wondering why I didn't quit after 4 discs like I wanted to.
This was a tough listen. For the most part this is a one person narrative from a very disturbed troubled person. There are some twists but you have to slog thru hours of comtemplative narrative that is just depressing. If you like psychological introspection it might be for you, it was a disappointment to me.
You'll figure out one twist early on, but before the end, it twists again. The best part of the narrative is when Ralph is the most delusional, he is also the most truthful.
Read "The Time Traveller's Wife" after this one and time traveller was so dismally bad, I wished I had another one like this one.
I really enjoyed this audio -- the various readers helped distinguish the various voices and perspectives. The "actring vs reading" balance was just right, I immediately went out to buy the book itself -- a KEEPER !
This book can be summed up in one word- boring! The way the story unfolds in fairly interesting but the "mystery" isn't powerful enough to drive the story forward with any momentum. I found myself longing for the book to finally end. I'd recommend that you skip this one.
This was a clever book of intrigue and mystery. It keeps you guessing until the end and at time you wonder what the mystery is! It is wonderfully narrated and one of my fastest listens ever with audible. I thoroughly enjoyd this novel.
Prolific reader and listener of books of all kinds.
Interesting study into obsession and the time period. This book is very well read and entertaining to listen to. It is long, but that is a good thing, you can immerse yourself in it.
There is a diverse cast of characters, each with their own problems and issues.