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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Review: The Buried Pyramid

The Buried Pyramid (Free Kindle download) was Jane Lindskold's first publshed novel. It's not very good.

The story, which could have used an editor, revolves around a Victorian era exploration/discovery of a hitherto unknown King and undiscovered tomb. Captain Neville Hawthorne accompanied a German man on a previous unsuccessful excursion to find such the Tomb, but was driven away, only to return many years later to make a second and third attempt.

The book is full of stereotypes --- you've got the white man gone native, you've got the American niece toting revolvers and sticking up for women's rights everywhere, you've got the eccentric scholar dragging his books of lore all over the deserts, and the native kid who keeps a monkey pet but and turns out to be surprisingly smart. Not to mention the rival archaeologists who will stop at nothing to get access to the new finds before anyone else does. Hawthorne et al get warnings of a mysterious nature from someone who appears to know all about them, but keeps himself hidden.

With such a hackneyed set of characters, it's not too surprising that the plot is hackneyed as well. In fact, I guessed (correctly) about the identity of the mysterious note-writer, and Lindskold uses the ancient (and silly) cryptographic rot-13 cipher to show off her understanding of cryptography.

The last third of the book ventures into the fantastic, with encounters with long-dead mythologies, and would have been welcomed if the first two-thirds of the book wasn't so inane. As it was, I kept praying for the characters to show some originality, and choose an unconventional ending, but alas, this was not to be. It was a chore to keep my eyes open on the flight with this book. I ventured into reading other books on my Kindle and returned to this only out of a feeling of obligation (and in case something interesting happened in the novel). Well, nothing did, so save yourself some time.

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