3 out of 4 stars
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As a child, Lou’s parents brought him to the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. Although he thoroughly enjoyed most of the exhibits, he was particularly stricken by the Mycenaean gold. When this memorable day was over, Lou told his parents that he intended to own that gold when he grew up. Lou’s parents had no idea just how serious he was about making that dream a reality.
In Gift of the Gods by Diana Bricknell, we follow Lou and his fellow conspirators as they steal and sell the priceless Greek artifacts. We watch slack-jawed as the story proceeds through the heist itself, to the dangerous navigation of the gold’s sale, and the myriad hoops the team needs to jump through to try and get away with their crime. Jumping perspectives between the various conspirators, to the museum curator, and even to the police attempting to track down the criminals, the reader is treated to a multitude of colourful characters.
This great book was like a travel memoir, crime thriller, and a cultural journey rolled up into one neat package. The action surrounding the gold's theft was enough of a story on its own, but the additional attention to detail made the novel even more special. What I liked the most about this book was how the author’s personal knowledge of the locations in the novel, from Athens to Istanbul, came to life in the pages. The reader can easily picture the expanse of white and blue Mykonosian villas overlooking the Aegean Sea. Beyond the descriptions of the various locations, the book even touched on interesting cultural aspects of regions involved.
A couple of small details within the story irked me, however. First, and what I disliked the most about the book, was how smoothly the actual theft occurred. I believe there would have been more hurdles for the duo to encounter when stealing priceless Greek artifacts. In the book, however, this took surprisingly little effort and only a few pages. The last item I’ll mention is the editing. There were a few too many errors, in my opinion, to say that it was well edited. Despite the quantity of errors, the majority of the issues were due to incorrect capitalization, and they didn’t take too much away from the story.
Given the great plot, amazing backdrop, and cultural insights, I am happy to give this book a solid three out of four stars. I took off one small star for the editing and the issues I had with the heist itself. This, however, shouldn’t deter fans of the crime/adventure genres to whom I wholeheartedly recommend this book. If you are a reader that needs constant action or despise idle chitchat in your novels, you may want to stay away from this book.
Gift of the Gods
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