Monday, February 06, 2012

From the Ashes - Jeremy Burns

If you're in the mood for a good international conspiracy thriller, Jeremy Burns' debut novel FROM THE ASHES certainly ought to do the trick. His protagonist, graduate student Jonathan Rickner, is the son of a famous archeologist, but the murder of Jon's older brother draws him into the investigation of a not-so-ancient mystery that still goes all the way back to the closing days of World War I, with stops along the way in the Cold War era and World War II.

The trick to a novel like this is to mix the historical speculation with interesting characters and enough action to keep things perking along. Burns does a fine job of that. Jon Rickner is a good hero, smart and brave, able to rise to the occasion when threatened, but still quite human, especially in his relationship with his late brother's fiancée Mara who is drawn into investigating the conspiracy with him. Naturally, the shadowy figures behind all the villainy are willing to go to any lengths to keep from being exposed, and since they've murdered many times before, they don't hesitate to go after Jon and Mara as well.

Burns has come up with a very plausible plot that involves a number of famous historical figures and also includes a desperate hunt for clues reminiscent of the NATIONAL TREASURE movies (which I enjoyed quite a bit).  I liked FROM THE ASHES, too, and think it's well worth reading.  I suspect – and hope – that there'll be a sequel on the way.

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