Review: The Lucifer Gospel – Paul Christopher

The Lucifer Gospel Paul ChristopherMy version: Paperback
Genre: Fiction biblical mystery
Publisher: Onyx Books (Penguin)
First published: 2006

From the cover:
In the desert of North Africa, Finn Ryan stumbles upon a seventy-tear-old plane wreck – and a shocking revelation that threatens to unravel an entire faith…
Young archaeologist Finn Ryan and charismatic pilot and photographer Virgil Hilts are scouring the Sahara for the long-lost tomb of an apostle. But they find something they weren’t looking for: signs of a decades-old murder, along with an ancient Roman medallion bearing the infamous name of a fallen archangel. It doesn’t take long for them to realise that they’ve found a piece of a much bigger puzzle – and a trail of clues taht could get them killed.
Forced to flee from a relentless enemy, Finn and Virgil are pursued across the globe. From sinister ruins of an ancient monastery to a sunken ship in the Caribbean, the two desperately search for a truth that could save their lives, but might shake the foundations of history…

Close, but no cigar.

The Lucifer Gospel really could have been good, but wasn’t. It was like a Dan Brown wannabe-lite. I gave it every chance, but it failed to deliver and finally, I couldn’t get Clive-bloody-Cussler out of my mind.

(A Clive Cussler book has got to be one of the worst things ever to have wasted ink and paper and, more importantly, my time).

The majority of the plot actually seems to do its best to avoid the front and back cover’s set-up entirely and involves a race across the world to find something, we’re not really sure of. Even the title, or the actual item the title seems to describe, turns out not to be what you think it ‘should’ be, it’s almost a play on words and I couldn’t help but feel a little cheated.

It all starts out alright, ticking all the right boxes for the historical/biblical mystery, thriller-genre (if there is one); there’s a possibly world-changing lost treasure, a desert, a sympathetic heroine, a helpful, knowledgeable male co-lead character who can do just about everything, a mad millionaire…oh yeah, see; all going wrong, all going all Clive Cussler on us already.

The story then takes us from Egypt to Libya, across half of Europe, to the Caribbean and finally, the USA. Luckily, for each tricky situation they find themselves in, or faced with, they have the necessary experience required. The most eyebrow-raising point for me, came when they were trying to figure out how long somewhere had been deserted. They found a Coca-Cola bottle without a ring-pull opening. Fortunately, the heroine’s mother had been to school with the man who invented the ring-pull system and the heroine had written a thesis on it and was thus able to estimate how old the place was…I think I finally lost touch completely with the book at that point, just as well it was towards the end or I might not have persisted.

The Lucifer Gospel actually has some reasonably interesting characters and situations, problem is, they’re mostly the supporting characters and situations that aren’t the big set-pieces. It’s nicely written, decently put together and generally a pleasant read. But that’s the problem, it’s all too slight, too inoffensive and too far from being one I can recommend.

Speesh on Goodreads

You can buy The Lucifer Gospel from The Book Depository

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