Tuesday, December 27, 2011


By C. Wood

April, Vienna. The legendary Spear of Destiny has been broken into pieces in the Hofburg museum and a security guard’s severed head is found upon a serving platter. Ex forensics investigator Vanessa Descartes, who has been working on the study of the spear and who only wants to return to England, is called to the scene to reconstruct the artifact. She discovers the spearhead and a revered nail, believed to have come from Christ’s cross, have been substituted for fakes. Along with two university professors, Vanessa and the Austrian police discover the murder has a connection to the Templar Knights, the ancient art of alchemy, with a touch of modern DNA science. To everyone’s horror, the mystery delves deeper than anyone expected.

Another religious controversy and mystery from Wood. He did a lot of research to come up, again, with a complex tale.

Vanessa Descartes: Former forensic scientist. Archaeologist.

Emanuel Wole Khalamanga: 50, single, likes to jog, native of Nigeria, Doctor of Medieval Literature at Oxford University, painter

Tomas Emilio Baltasar Bartolomé de Carranza: 64, Professor of History at the University of Madrid. Has a bit of an ego. Married and divorced twice.

Wilhelm Petersen: Austrian homicide investigator. Widower.

Very interesting names. A very good mix of character types.

Relatively well defined. I didn’t have any confusion as to who was speaking. The personalities of each character are reflected in the conversations.

Wood commits the same grammatical errors as in the previous book. The main errors are not capitalizing the next complete sentence after a pieced of dialogue and omitting commas when presenting dialogue with a tag. Same POV or ‘head hopping’ errors. He may be going for omnipotent point of view, but it’s distracting.

This book is more easily readable than the first book in this series. It’s presented more as a mystery than a strange biography of the main character. The two university types are more featured. Phrasing is still very good, descriptions and details well handled.

I know it’s a short(er) book than normal, and Wood had to get into the mystery fairly quickly, but it did seem a little convenient for Khalamanga and de Carranza to be called in on and accepted on an Austrian murder.

I won’t play spoiler, but there is a certain element to the story on which I just didn’t agree. Moving through the story, I had a thought that a particular character wasn’t really needed, that Wood could have introduced another and the story would have been just as fine. So when the demise of the character happened, I was disappointed.

There is a lot of lecture type narrative, but explanations are necessary.

My ranking:

Purple Belt

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