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Altar of Bones Mass Market Paperback – November 22, 2011

104 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This conspiracy thriller from the pseudonymous Carter opens in 1937 with a rousing Siberian prison camp escape, but the present-day action soon turns predictable. After the murder of Katya Orlova, the grandmother of San Francisco lawyer Zoe Dmitroff, a letter written by Katya reaches Zoe informing her that she's now the "Keeper" of an ancient secret involving a Siberian cave known as the Altar of Bones. Many people try to wrest the secret from Zoe, including her own mother, a mysterious business tycoon, and the Russian mob. Ry O'Malley, a hunky tough guy, signs on to protect Zoe, and soon they're on the run. Zoe and Ry prove to be amazingly lucky, to the point that by the time the unsurprising ending rolls around, all suspense has been drained from the action. Readers should be prepared for prose typical of erotic romance fiction (e.g., "He tried to gentle his kiss, but then she tangled her fingers in his hair and sucked on his tongue, pulling it deeper into her mouth, making love with their mouths, sucking, tonguing, and he was lost"). (Mar.)
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Review

“Comparisons to Steve Berry, Dan Brown, and James Rollins are inevitable and not unmerited. But Carter’s Altar is anything but derivative. A corkscrewing, looping roller coaster of a reading experience, it definitely belongs in the hands of thriller fans who crave speed.” -- Booklist (starred review)
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; Reprint edition (November 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439199299
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439199299
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #836,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Ray J. Palen Jr. VINE VOICE on March 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Philip Carter is the admited pseudonym for an internationally renowned author. I spent most of the novel trying to figure out who it was but the style was different than many of the historical fiction writers working today.

THE ALTAR OF BONES starts with an ancient secret in Siberia where the actual altar is revealed and may indeed hold the key to the fountain of youth and immortality. As the novel jumps to present day we find a dying homeless woman representing the answer to unlocking the decades-buried secret of this altar and the magical elixir it produces.

The heroes of this tale are Zoe Dmitroff, the grand-daughter of the first Keeper of the Altar of the Bones. She is paired with Ry O'Malley --- an ex Special Ops officer whose father's past is the gateway to understanding the power of the altar. The back-story about Ry's father --- who is implicated in both the assassination of JFK as well as the murder of Marilyn Monroe --- takes the story on a speculative leap that is both fun and unbelievable.

Unfortunately, after the secrets of their families pasts are revealed the novel devolves into a very standard chase novel as Zoe and Ry jaunt from country to country and will inevitably end up in Siberia where the original altar may still lie. A good beach book --- but no Steve Berry or James Rollins here!
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36 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Jason Frost VINE VOICE on March 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you have any doubt about whether or not to read this book; stop. Just do it. This is one heck of a damn good book! I enjoy books that "lead" you in one direction and then switchback so hard your spine cracks. `Altar of Bones' is a puzzle of a thriller that will keep you up late for many nights. Course, if you're a fast reader it'll keep you up hours. What you have here is a fast paced book that interweaves history and fiction with the infamous bad boys of the Cold War, the Russians. They have heard a rumor that there is a very real "fountain of youth" somewhere in Siberia. They know it's near a lake, they know this lake has a waterfall; they know the lake is in the middle of nowhere, but they don't know it all...

Zoe has no idea she's the last in an ancient and storied line of the "Keepers". All women, all with strong physical features, all tasked with keeping a deadly secret, and all apparently horny. This adventure starts off in San Francisco, jumps back in time to a brutal prison camp in Norilsk, Siberia, then to present-day Texas. Ry is a black ops guy on a sabbatical of sorts when he runs into Zoe. Luck or fate? There is so much to this book. A Louisiana gumbo of secret signs, hidden clues, brutal hit men, sexual tension thrown in for good measure, and enough suspense and action to make Avery Books happy. This altar of bones is rumored to have unimaginable power but no one truly knows if it's real or just a myth. Despite not knowing 100%, a few evil souls feel that it's worth killing over. And kill they do. The players in this puzzle are some of the most demented leaders the world has known.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Juanito on March 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Reading this book is like watching a fast-paced movie! The mystery is better than Da Vinci Code, and the action is better than Bourne Identity. Female readers will not be disappointed either, as I'm sure nobody would mind some steamy romance between our heroine Zoe and hero Ry.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By bridget3420 on March 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The entire time I was reading this book, I felt like I was watching everything unfold. Philip's word choice makes it possible to envision everything with clarity, Altar of Bones is an absolute thrill-ride with an amazing plot. I recommend this book to anyone who is up for a little adventure.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By 1eyejacks on February 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Altar of Bones just does not live up to all the hype. A let down. It's like junk food. It was Ok because I was hungry but even while reading I knew it wasn't such a good meal and afterwards I wondered why I wasted my time and my brain needed pepto. Like a TV Lifetime network movie it is all too predictable and formulaic story template driven. The hype is that S&S paid a 7 figure advance on this and if that is true there is little reason to wonder why publishers are having a hard time lately. The hype includes "who is the mystery author" and they use that as a marketing tool. Weak. Maybe Snokkie wrote it? Nah. I'm positive James Rollins wrote Altar of Bones. It's not a really bad read just very average and I give it a solid 3 stars.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Koch VINE VOICE on March 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book starts out with an old homeless woman being pursued by a man. The woman knows that if she keeps running, she just might be able to live another day. Unfortunately, the woman is not fast enough. The last words out of the woman's mouth is..."They didn't have to kill him...he never drink from the Altar of Bones. I got it back."

The next scene takes reads back in time to 1937 in a Norilsk prison camp on Siberia, USSR. It is here that readers start to learn more about what the Altar of Bones is really about and why so many people are willing to kill for the location and what the Altar has to offer.

Now to the present day. When Zoe Dmitroff receives a letter from her grandmother, she learns that she is now the "Keeper" of the Altar of Bones. Zoe meets up with Ry O'Malley, an ex-DEA agent. Together they all over the globe to find out if the Altar of Bones really exist. It will be a dangerous trek.

I started reading The Altar of Bones right before I went to bed...bad idea. Right from the beginning I was instantly hooked by this book. I had to force myself to put it down and turn off the lights. There was intrigue, mystery, and adventure at every turn and it did not let up until the very end. Which I also thought was great. Sometimes books can start out strong and the ending can be a let down or seemed rushed. It was neither in the case of this book. Both Zoe and Ry were strong characters. I like that the romance between these two did not take away from the story. Altar of Bones needs to come with a warning...Beware of adrenaline rush!
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