Well, well, well. Here we are. Finally. At the beginning of a series that will, in all honesty, encompass many different types of posts (reviews, essays, rants…) and spread across a number of years.
Today we are talking about the first of what I am calling (for now) my new series: Finding Atlantis.
Look, I adore the Atlantis myth. I’ve been intrigued by the idea since I first watched that animated movie as a child, you know the one. It was awesome. And then, tiny nerd that I was, I looked it up in my children’s encyclopedia (which I still have and let me tell you, that thing is beat to shit. It has seen many better days, many years ago) and I was hooked. A lost city? A lost civilization? A lost, advanced civilization? Well.
As a result, I will acquire most books or movies or TV shows that are in some general way related to the topic of Atlantis, because it is a general interest of mine. Only recently, however, have I actually started to make headway into the seemingly insurmountable morass of materiel I have collected over the years, starting with The Atlantis Code, by Charles Brokaw. Which, yes, is a novel but I am not out here trying to actually find Atlantis, ok? I hope one day they will, and it would be even better if that happens while I am around to see it, but in the meantime let’s all employ that dusty tool known as the human imagination and respect those who have put their words out in publishable form for us all to muse over.
Charles Brokaw is a pseudonym for an American author and, I assume, scholar. He certainly seems to know academics, and their quirks, well enough that this may be native knowledge. He writes with a clear passion for history and archaeology, and again: seems to know a decent amount about it, such that if he is an armchair expert he is a hella educated one. He write well, which is honestly something that not many authors seem to do, for all the bestsellers and the publication numbers. Brokaw writes a gripping adventure mystery, and with enough thrills mixed in to keep you turning the pages. He involves religion where the plot calls for it without either pushing it too hard or disrespecting the tenets of the religion in question, which is also something I find quite rare in modern fiction. Everyone has an axe to grind these days.
Brokaw’s main protagonist, Professor Thomas Lourds, might just be my new hero. A linguistics professor of some renown, the best thing about him is the fact that he isn’t an idiot. He’s clearly a genius in his field, but the way some intelligent protagonists are written drives me up the wall; they’re intelligence right up until a crucial point and all of a sudden turn into gibbering morons. I like the fact the Lourds doesn’t do this. Oh sure, he makes mistakes and his decisions don’t always make sense to those around him but he doesn’t regress several evolutionary cycles when that happens. And honestly, his abilities as a linguist make him an awesome protagonist, for me at least. I aspire to one day be able to speak as well as he does in as many languages as he does, though that be the work of decades. Linguists are among the greatest of craftsmen and I won’t hear a word of argument against that statement.
The Atlantis myth is dealt with really well in this book; there is enough of the familiar there that the whole thing reads like it could actually happen, which I believe is due in part to the fact that the book was inspired by the actual news stories from several years back about Cadiz being the actual site of Atlantis. While there are some character and plot cliches in the book (love triangle, gods save us, and hot Russian badass), they’re written well enough that they don’t detract from the overall mystery. Plus, codebreaking. Codebreaking in ancient languages. That is just cool.
I liked it. Will probably read the others in the series, though I don’t believe they have anything to do with Atlantis. As I said, I like the protagonist. I’m a nerd. It’s nice to read about my people!
Photo credits: Taken by me, with my phone, of my book.