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1.0 out of 5 starsMore of a romantic triangle than it is an adventure that I couldn't finish.
Reviewed in the United States on July 13, 2020
Honestly, I couldn't finish it. Got to 80 pages into it. It was hardly an adventure, of what I read of it. It was more like a romantic triangle soap opera with adventure thrown in a little. I like the reverse, an adventure with a little romance thrown in. Speaking of adventure, it struck as unbelievable that at the start of the story when the archeologist finds some hieroglyphics about the legendary Emerald Tablets, she proclaims in fearfulness something along the lines that the discovery of such items could change the world for the worse in the wrong hands. I couldn't buy it. That's only the first of a few other things that didn't come off very well. Also there was very little description, so I never felt like I was there. The only thing intriguing that I read was the title. I am sorry to leave such a harsh review. I wanted to like it.
4.0 out of 5 starsAdventure, mystery and lost legends in the deep desert.
Reviewed in the United States on September 5, 2019
I was initially drawn to City of Gold, but I decided to read this one first, because it dovetailed nicely with a project I'm working on, also involving Egypt's Western Desert. Secret of the Lost Pharaoh is a well-researched, well-crafted mix of adventure, mystery, Egyptology, and ancient legends, with page-turning suspense, unexpected twists and a subtle undercurrent of romance. One thing I found mildly annoying, however, was Cal. For someone who lives for these adventures enough to put a relationship in jeopardy, he comes across as someone who probably shouldn't be there. Maybe Egyptian curses just give him the heebie-jeebies, and he'd be fine climbing the Himalayas. But I've got a feeling he'd be looking over his shoulder for a yeti. Maybe this is just PTSD from the events in the first book. I'll find out when I read City of Gold.
The other bugaboo for me was the unrealistically deep hole they manually dig with shovels. Even with loose, easy soil, for a hole this size, you'd probably bring in equipment such as a backhoe, finishing up with shovels as you near the archeological prize. And no mention is made of how they removed the excavated soil from the hole. At the very least, for safety's sake at this depth, you'd need shoring to keep the hole from collapsing in on itself. Does Egypt have an equivalent of OSHA? Our intrepid explorers are lucky they didn't entomb themselves deep below the desert sands.
That said, I really did enjoy this tale, and am looking forward to going back and reading City of Gold. This series looks to be a winner!
3.0 out of 5 starsToo Much Soap Opera, Not Enough Adventure
Reviewed in the United States on June 28, 2020
Generally fun and readable, but there is FAR too much emphasis on the characters' emotions, relationships, and feelings. The characters all come off as insecure and whiny. The actual adventure seems secondary to the guilt, frustrated romance, jealousy, and anger the characters all suffer from. I kept wanting to growl at them, "Grow up, already!"
I would estimate that 80% of the book consisted of characters obsessing about their own feelings, and the rest was made up of super-excessive descriptions of every single action. A short sentence would be followed by 2-3 sentences describing what the agent is doing. Bizarre. Couple that with a hero who basically goes after any female around, is as superficial as a formica countertop, and a cast of equally shallow people. Boring does not describe this book adequately. The only highlight were the hilarious errors--my favorite being when one looks at a mummy case and says once a living breathing person was in that. Really? Buried alive?
I Don't especially like female authors (ok I'm a chauvinist). This book was written like a teen romance novel with a quick, clean ending. So many parts were childishly simplistic and the characters, especially Cal, were just unrealistic. For an author acclaimed for about 30 books I felt cheated, what a waste of time! If you want a soap opera/bachelor combo this is for you; me, I won't read another Carolyn Arnold novel, sorry.
Reviewed in the United States on September 7, 2020
Book two was almost as good as the first. But the hero and the heroine didn't end up together. The different take on Egyptian royalty was a refreshing unique path to story telling that is attention grabbing. The humor between the three friends, Matt, Robeyn, and Cal keep the story humorous as well endearing. This another action packed adventure with a thrill ride to experience.
VERY good story. Liked how all the characters fleshed out...even the surprise ones. Story line with twists, turns and near disasters was great. Only draw back as...stupid, drawn out details...especially about the romantic jealousies from these adult professionals also....I really don't care that "Matthew spooned hashbrowns onto his plate then offered the spoon to" ...etc. augh!
Author Carolyn Arnold is one of my favorite authors. I love her suspenseful crime stories, but this story did not excite me as her others. Here, archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Conner searches for the Emerald Tablets. The tablets contain powers unique to whoever possesses them. But if they fall into the wrong hands, it could mean global disaster. This story was not fast moving for me, nor is it action packed. It is, however, well written but not the adventure it could have been.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 2, 2021
Parts of the book are gripping but I found the characters unbelievable and somewhat childish. They acted like a bunch of teenagers than professionals. The author couldn't seem to makeup her mind whether she was writing an action story or a romance. Author needs to do more research. Narrative stretches the imagination a bit thin -- what did those hundreds of snakes eat down there? However, it was an easy read and as I say parts of the book I did find enjoyable.
I can't understand the good reviews for this book; boring dialog and the swimming thing that happened was ridiculous. There seemed to be some action happening, but very little adventure. I gave up half way through.
4.0 out of 5 starsTense and packed with action - just what a thriller should be.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 7, 2020
From the first opening page, to the twist at the end, this story grabs the reader and doesn't let go. So hang on to your senses as you experience the thrill ride of a lifetime, uncovering history as you travel the deserts of Egypt and the ancient pharaohs.