4 out of 4 stars
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The Mask of Perpetuity is an adventure book set in 1935. It is written by Martin Jones and is the first book in the George Melville Mystery series.
When a treasured Chinese artifact, called the Mask of Perpetuity, goes missing while under British possession, George Melville is called upon to help a British Secret Services agent return the mask. He meets the agent, Ali McAlistair a.k.a Mad Dog, in a casino in Macau. George is to bid for and buy the mask, which was smuggled out of Britain, at the casino. After things go horribly wrong, he is left with little faith in the wild-haired agent. George is merely an investigate officer and finds himself uncomfortably out of his element in this fast-paced, pre-war world of espionage as he is forced to tag along with Mad Dog to track down the mask.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It is written from George's perspective, who happens to be an ordinary civilian. Thus, we experience the journey through his very relatable eyes. He is terrified witless half of the time, and who could blame him? He finds himself in crazy scenarios he would have never dreamed up, from dodging bullets in an Egyptian bazaar to uncomfortable, rickety flight experiences in biplanes. His discomfort and highly descriptive, sarcastic expressions of this discomfort make this book come alive in a very realistic way.
The author does an excellent job in taking us back in time. The time period in which the book is set is well depicted through the clothing, transportation modes, technology, and language used and described in the book. It is so well depicted, that it fades seamlessly into the background, creating the perfect backdrop for a believable story to unfold without distracting the reader.
The book has an assortment of amusing characters. Take Mad Dog for example. He presents himself as an unreliable alcoholic with pea-brained ideas. The truth about this Secret Services agent, however, makes for quite a read! The Mask of Perpetuity also has fascinating supporting characters who enhance the element of intrigue. One such character is an ancient Chinese man we meet in Macau with opaque eyes and a blackened smile who packs quite a kick.
I recommend this book to adventure book fans. It is quite a short book at only 86 pages. This, coupled with its fast past, means that readers can complete it in one very entertaining sitting. This thrilling, light read deserves nothing less than 4 out of 4 stars. I look forward to reading upcoming books in this exciting series which jets readers across the globe on crazy, dangerous adventures!
The Mask of Perpetuity
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