An obscure museum's dead proprietor lies in a secret room surrounded by one of the world's most astonishing collections of Greek antiquities. Only a priceless Mycenaean death mask has been taken, along with the bones of a legendary hero thought to exist only in ancient myth. Looted by the Nazis, the treasures are still being sought by those whose dreams of glory remain undefeated.
The mask is an unparalleled discovery that will be a force for devastating retribution in the wrong hands. But by the time museum curator Deborah Miller learns the truth, it may be too late not only to save herself - but to reveal to the world the awesome secret she's uncovered.
©2006 A.J. Hartley (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Rich with historical and archeological detail, this well-constructed debut from Hartley celebrates the power of legend while delivering an engrossing mystery that skips nimbly between continents and cultures." (Publishers Weekly)
I usually like "hidden history" type stories of which "The DiVinci Code" is probably the best-known example. You almost always get far-flung adventures in exotic or ancient locations with protagonists who are either immensely capable Indiana Jones types, or academics out of their league who start figuring out the clues and by the end of the book are two steps ahead of the bad guys. In both cases you start liking the good guys and are excited by what's happening to them and are happy you're along for the ride.
In "The Mask of Atreus", not so much. The main character, Deborah Miller, just seems to be a victim of circumstance. She moves through the story like a twig in a stream... letting events push her along but never taking charge herself. She's not weak, she endures any number of hardships, but she just never gets ahead of the story and takes charge.
This could be forgivable with a better story, something that kept the reader a bit off balance as well. Unfortunately I saw the saw the big twist coming about two thirds of the way through, and then spent the rest of the book waiting for everyone else to catch up.
Given the setup and major plot points, this could have been something like a mega-roller-coaster, full of drops and climbs with so many corners and loops that you're never quit sure what comes next and that leaves you with a jaw-splitting grin. Instead, it was like a kiddie-coaster at the state fair. A few short drops, a Whee or two, and then on to the Tilt-A-Whirl. This is probably the first book I return, if for no other reason than I can't imaging wanting to listen to it again.
The historical aspects of the story were interesting, but I left like the writting left something to be desired.
well, I listened to the end, but in hindsight I think I could have spent my credit more wisely.
l loved the history tie-ins. I've been listening to Archeology of the Iliad recently, to the history overlap was lots of fun. The Archaeology of the Iliad is great, by the way.
The history background kept popping up.
She did a great job with the different voices, both male and female. Slightly stilted, so only a 4/5, but still good to listen to and easy always to understand. Good expression for each character too.
That would be a spoiler!!
Not quite as good as AJ Hartley's Macbeth, but very enjoyable. The Macbeth he did is a masterpiece--a must-listen. Fills in all the gaps a Shakespeare stage play had to leave with completely plausible story.
I'm a bibliophile since early childhood. Love speculative fiction, odd premises, mystery novels that teach about different places and times.
This was absolutely silly fun. Some problems with the black maid's accent (she sounded strongly Brooklanise). I wouldn't say it was serious but it was quite entertaining.
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