To reach the living, navigate the dead...In a villa on the coast of Montenegro, Abby Cormac witnesses the brutal murder of her lover, diplomat Michael Lascaris. The last thing she remembers is a gun pointed directly at her. She wakes to find herself at the centre of a diplomatic nightmare. Everyone wants an answer but no one wants to listen. Even her employers at the Foreign Office believe she's hiding something.
She is completely alone. As Abby tries to piece together the last few months of Michael's life in order to get at the truth, she soon realises that he wasn't quite what he seemed. What exactly was his relationship with one of the most ruthless men in the Balkans - a war criminal who has never been brought to justice? And what links Michael's gift to her of a gold necklace with its Christian monogram, a 4th century manuscript left in the shadow of Emperor Constantine's palace at Trier and an inscription on a tomb in Rome? When Abby investigates further, it becomes clear that someone wants to suppress a secret, one that has been kept hidden for centuries. And they will stop at nothing to do so...
©2011 Tom Harper (P)2012 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd, published in the UK by Random House Audiobooks
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"Missing an ingredient"
Having read/listened to other Tom Harper books, I thought I knew what sort of adventure Secrets of the Dead might have in store for me. Sadly, it wasn't to be. In the others, there was an air of mystery as to whom the character (not present day) was, and why and how their tale was connected. Secrets of the Dead swung that mystery around the other way, leaving you wondering just how the present day was involved with the well-defined past. The fuzziness of the present day jarred with the crispness of the past. Our present day characters seemed to lurch around, struggling with what would turn out to be a lame adventure story. And the past - well explained, uneventful, and disappointing.
Francis Greenslade has a somewhat monotone voice, which had never bothered me before, even enhancing The Lazarus Vault, but here I felt it added to the general feeling of slowness; of dragging the story around like an ancient ball and chain. It sounded weary, it felt weary, and I'm sorry to say, I just lost interest.
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