‘James Douglas’, left a comment on my Goodreads review page for The Isis Covenant (link to my Goodreads is above left). He is of course, also Douglas Jackson, the author of a whole series of excellent-looking (I have the first in the series, Hero of Rome up there on my ‘to read’ section of the bookcase at home here) books about another of my all-time favourite subjects of all-time; Ancient Rome.
“Really appreciate an excellent in-depth review that is hugely encouraging, Speesh. There’s a reason he’s Saintclair which helped cement his character in book 1, The Doomsday Testament, so he must remain, but I should probably have repeated the explanation. Interesting what you say about the war scenes. Battles are one of big interests I’m very much at home there as a writer. I’m considering a thriller set in Arnhem, and that gives me some food for thought. Thanks again, James Douglas (Jackson)”
It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that the name ‘problem’ is mine and mine alone and is absolutely nothing to do with the author here and should be in no way seen as a negative comment on his excellent book. It is a personal thing and one I have mentioned before on my blog.
In short; I long for an international jewel thief with a heart of gold, who went to Oxford, Cambridge – and probably Harvard – and who is, amongst other things, a leading authority on whatever ancient subject he happens to be mixed up in right now…to be called Phil, or Alan (even Dave) and have a surname somewhere a bit more within my circle of experience. Like Green, or Brown. Or Denton*. And have a girlfriend who, whilst of course being unbelievably clever, is not especially beautiful and doesn’t go by the name of Cassiopeia and doesn’t want to be known as Cass for short. You know what I’m saying.
You see, that was another reason – that I meant to mention but forgot to include in my review of the book – that I liked The Isis Covenant so much. It didn’t follow a lot of the other formulae for this kind of story. By not having the main protagonists know, or meet along the way, someone who is coincidentally the world’s leading authority on ‘this sort of thing’ and not having said authority hold forth for several pages at a time explaining in great detail on whatever minute clue they’ve just discovered (that has baffled the world’s other leading experts down the centuries, but because they are up against the clock, they solve inside half an hour)…It didn’t have me thinking: “If that was me, listening to that, I’d have fallen asleep by now.” Or I’d have said “Oh, good grief. Just get on with it. Is it your round?” Even though, while said expert is clearly giving what amounts to a 45 minute lecture on early Etruscan earthen-wear pottery, the villains are right behind you! (for goodness’ sake).
But, back to the matter at hand.
I had the feeling that The Isis Covenant was a the second featuring Art Dealer Jamie Saintclair. I bought – as a download from iTunes – The Isis Covenant, after seeing James/Douglas post about it on his Twitter account. On Apple’s iBookstore (or whatever it’s soon to be called), it isn’t exactly easy to read the small print at the bottom (that I can now see from the front cover image I’ve posted here), that says ‘From the author of ‘The Doomsday Testament’. And certainly not easy on the iPhone I read The Isis Covenant on. I will however, soon rectify the error and be downloading The Doomsday Testament from iTunes…just as soon as my next month’s pocket money comes through,OK?
*Actually, in Giles Kristian‘s (really rather excellent so far) latest book ‘The Bleeding Land‘, there is a character with the surname ‘Denton’. Unfortunately, he – and his family – haven’t exactly endeared themselves to our heroes, The Rivers family, as yet. I’m hoping for a heart of gold later in the book or series, though I have my doubts. Still, as I said on Twitter: They live up in Lancashire and the family Denton I know I come from, were from the London area. Some 500 years later. And The Bleeding Land, is of course fiction…
If you haven’t sussed the links in the post above, here they are again:
@ Dougwriter: Douglas Jackson – Twitter
Douglas Jackson – Facebook
Douglas Jackson – Dougsbookblog
Douglas Jackson – Amazon page