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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Sacred Cipher by Terry Brennan

Tom Brohannan has accidentally and unknowingly become a part of one of the most world-changing treasure expeditions in the history of the world. A scroll has been found that is written in the ancient and lost language of Demotic. The language is very difficult to read because of each word's many definitions. But he and his colleagues work painstakingly at decoding the scroll and eventually do. What they find on the scroll they do not even believe at first. The scroll reveals the location of one of the hottest artifacts in the history of the world. But someone does not want them to find it. Someone is willing to kill to stop them from finding the artifact. Danger mounts as they travel to the Middle East to discover what they are looking for.

A treasure hunt book should not be as good as The Sacred Cipher is. It should not be this realistic. While the treasure is inevitably found, there are explosive consequences to its discovery. The discovery of this artifact truly would change the world. Unfortunately, Terry Brennan made some rookie mistakes that cost him a debut five star novel.

His biggest mistake is the lack of good characters. This is the only thing keeping this book from being five stars. The characters are boring and almost lifeless; therefore being the only unrealistic aspect of this book. Terry needs to develop his characters better next time if he expects a five star out of us.

Research and planning are the key to this book's success. The facts Terry discovered are thought-provoking, therefore making this story very possible. Something like this could happen any day now. On the surface, this book looks like a typical debut novel, but once the reader gets to the end of this exceptional novel, one realizes that this is no ordinary treasure hunt. There are no successful romantic subplots, which is becoming more and more of a theme with new books. The villains play little to no part in the outcome of the plot. There is no showdown and virtually no contact between the protagonists and the antagonists. This is also good because not every situation in life involves someone wanting to destroy you.

If this artifact was found, things would end up the way this book ended up. No attempt is made to fix the highly original end. I hope Terry plans not to write a sequel, because a sequel would ruin the good end he has going here. A sequel would most likely be a step down in quality. Terry needs to move on and find a different obscure historical story to write about.

The Sacred Cipher

is a strong debut that could resound a promising career. I was disappointed about Terry's character development, but I believe he will fix this one problem down the road.

4.5 stars

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