I’m not going to lie. Receiving an email asking if I’d be willing to read a book in exchange for a review is pretty exciting! It also means that I need to be at my very best attempting to be articulate and giving the book AND the author justice.
Glen Craney is a new author for me, and after reading this particular book I’d be happy to have his works on my shelf permanently. I have a lot of people ask me, “How can you stand historical fiction? I would be so bored reading that!” To which I genuinely reply “I guess you are not a fan of Indiana Jones.” You can’t tell me that watching those movies doesn’t make you want to travel and go dig around in the dirt, or explore the unexplored. Thankfully for me, when I read books, the words quite literally play out in my head, like a movie.
Like any good historical fiction book (at least the ones I’m accustomed to reading) they tend to jump back and forth between stories. How else are you to know the distinct connection between past and present? Craney’s book jumps between present day and Spain starting around 1455 AD. What does an Ethiopian tomb and a tale of 3 mariners have in common?
Jaqueline Quatermane, or Jaq as she is referred to throughout the book, is the main character in the present day story. Jaq graduating from law school and now working for the State Department in the office of Legal Advisor, seems to be involved in nothing but politics. The reader is quickly introduced to her mentor a Rev. Calvin Merry; an eccentric televangelist who’s main goal seems to be saving as many non-believers as possible; going so far as to build a “Museum of the Millenium” an interactive recreation of the rapture and tribulation. You are also introduced to Paul Merion, Jaq’s fiance, who is doing God’s work in Ethiopia.
On the other “Timeline” (subtle hint to Crichton fans! Comment if you get it!) we’re introduced to Pero, a son of a horse trader who longs to be on the sea. Pero discovers a secret that has been kept from him for his safety. Pero and his father are arrested, which Pero counts towards his family’s secret. Pero’s mistaken imprisonment may lead him to his lifelong desire.
Back in Washington, Jaq receives heartbreaking news regarding her fiance, Paul. Paul was found dead in Ethiopia. As if this news isn’t enough, Jaq is told that Paul was involved in drug trafficking, bringing Ethiopian drugs stateside via Rev. Merry’s food program. Unwilling to accept the truth, Jaq travels to Ethiopia in search of the truth.
You’ll never believe all the twists and turns this book takes. What I enjoyed about the book? There are more than several quotes that I absolutely love in this book. And the fact that Craney mentions Harry Potter made my geek heart jump out of my chest. I also love how fast paced this book was. Once you get into the story it’s extremely hard to put it down. I also love the fact that reading this book makes me want to travel (my wallet doesn’t feel the same) and explore historical places to their core. I also loved getting to know the young Queen Isabella, and to see her grow within the story. Typically we see Isabella already on her throne and in charge. In Craney’s book, we take a bit of a look at her backstory, which is phenomenal. Did you know that Christopher Columbus has a secret (at least in this book)? You’ll definitely want to read to find out what he’s up to, and the influence he has.
What I didn’t like about the book? It ended. Seriously, no complaints here! I mean it when I say that I would love to add Glen Craney’s work to my bookshelves. Mr. Craney, thank you so much for reaching out and allowing me the pleasure to read your book. I absolutely loved it, and would love to work with you again!