There are not many novelists who can skilfully blend facts and fiction and come out with a storyline that is like a story and not a lecture. For historical military fiction, Steven Pressfield will be my choice. For contemporary thrillers, Michael Crichton is my favourite and since he is no longer around, Steve Berry moves up the list.

This 2010 novel has the usual clock and daggers stuff with violence that so saturate our reading and watching (television, movies, news). However, Berry makes the attempt to link the archaeology of the First Emperor of China, the eunuchs and the aspirations of modern day China. While dealing with men with power and political agendas, Berry makes some side comments about the history of China and its present day problems. And he also presented certain theories about the present China economy highlighting the unique Chinese tension with Confucianism and Legalism.

Oil is the reason countries goes to war today. Actually it is the fear of the running out of oil that leads to war. Biotic oil or fossil oil is what comes from dead dinosaurs crushed under high pressure. It has always been assumed that is the only source of oil and hence it can only be found in areas where dinosaurs used to roam. What if there is another source of oil, an abiotic oil than does not come from fossils but from the earth itself? The supply of abiotic oil will then be limitless and all countries do not have to depend on OPEC for their supplies of biotic oil. If abiotic oil exists, how is one to prove it?

This is another adventure involving Cotton Malone, a former Justice department field agent who retired to be a bookseller in Copenhagen. Booksellers live interesting lives in Coperhagen if Malone is an example.

A very good four star read.

To know more about Steve Berry, visit his website

The Emperors Tomb The Balkan Escape The Paris Vendetta Charlemagne Pursuit

The Venetian Betrayal

The Alexandria Link The Templar Legacy The Third Secret The Romanov Prophecy The Amber Room