93 of 105 people found the following review helpful
This is a typical adventure thriller with paranormal overtones, in other words "Indiana Jones - Light". In place of Indiana Jones we have Jeremy Logan, a professor of history who specializes in enigmas (the bizarre, weird things that most of us refer to as paranormal). Logan has been asked to join an expedition lead by a reclusive millionaire, Porter Stone, who has a reputation for remarkable finds. This time Stone has gone in search of the tomb of the Pharaoh who united Upper and Lower Egypt 5000 years ago. The tomb site is not located along the banks of the Nile but instead in the Sudd, the vast swamp that lies to the south of Egypt. The expedition is large, filled with experts in all fields, including the leading authority in near death experiences and his wife who has her own unique abilities. The expedition headquarters is located in the midst of a nearly impenetrable swamp, cut off from almost all outside contact when, of course odd things begin to happen just as they nearly achieve their goal.
This is not a bad story, just a familiar one. We have met all of the characters before, the hero who has arcane knowledge, the mysterious millionaire on a quest, the doctor who has a deep, dark secret and a vulnerable woman. We have also been to the isolated scientific outpost before, seen the increasingly disturbing events that finally cannot be ignored any longer. It is all standard fare in books or movies or tv shows, sometimes done quite well and resulting in a riveting tale, and other times done so badly they become inadvertent comedies. This one is pretty much middle of the road - the premise is good, the characters are reasonably believable but it does have some flaws. The site of the isolated base is inaccessible except when it is not. Events are slowly built up to and then rushed through. Characters at times behave illogically, even to the point that other characters comment on it.
Overall this is not a bad novel, just not a very original one. It is not a particularly poorly written novel, just not a well written one. It is a quick read, complicated enough to keep the reader interested but not so enthralling that it cannot be put down. It is therefore, a great novel to take on a trip, put in a beach bag or curl up with on a rainy weekend.
71 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2012
I read it in 3 sittings over a 24 hour period. Yeah, it's really good. Very absorbing, engrossing, and even terrifying. Actually, left me a bit breathless and really gripping the book tight with the last half waiting to find out what would happen next, which few novels really do for me. It may be Lincoln Child's best solo effort, yet. I didn't care for Terminal as much as this one. It was alright. Probably my favorite of his solo efforts before this one was Deep Storm(really good) followed by Utopia. With The Third Gate, Child moves into James Rollins/Clive Cussler territory. To an extent. This is a treasure hunt novel of sorts, but much more than that.
With out giving too much away, here is the the basic plot: Treaure hunter Porter Stone discovers the tomb of Narmer(just beyond the border of Egypt in the wasteland of the Sudd), the pharaoh king who united upper and lower Egypt 5000 years ago. Discovers that it has a nasty curse written on it. Not long after this discovery, the site and it's workers(archaeologists, scientists, etc.) begin experiencing strange, inexplicable events(equipment dies on them, supplies vanish, etc.). So, Stone enlists the help of a famous enigmologist(he's actually a Yale history professor, but is labeled an enigmologist b/c he deals in the supernatural), Jeremy Logan, to help understand if these are possibly supernatural events at work. What will Logan find? Will it raise more questions than answers? Is there a curse on the tomb of King Narmer? Or is it something else.... something more... Read it and find out.
The Third Gate is very well researched, as I expected. The character development is very good all around, but Jeremy Logan is the stand out character of this novel. He is very fascinating and I would love to see more of him in a sequel...oops, did I say sequel:)? I like it that Logan is introduced early on and not thrown in later on in the novel after the initial setup, which would probably mean the novel would have been a bit long-winded. Not the case here. This novel is lean and mean at barely 300 pages. I do wish the novel had taken place in more various exotic locales instead of mainly Africa, but that's being nitpicky.
This adventure thriller will leave you wanting more. I was not disappointed in the least(other than length, which is also a positive). The Third Gate should definitely be added to your summer reading list. Most novels, it seems, that explore this theme or something similar go through the motions while bringing nothing new to the table. No matter when you read it, just make sure you read this fast paced, twist-filled thriller as soon as possible. You will be wanting more Jerermy Logan and hopefully Child will answer our prayers. Grab it and be enthralled in it's grasp! I give it a 9.5 out of 10 or 4.75 stars out of 5.
I guess my only real complaint is that I wish the novel had been longer. I know I said the novel may have been long-winded had it been much longer, but not necessarily. Not in the hands of a wordsmith like Child. The only reason I give such a complaint as trivial as that is because I didn't want it to end. It seemed like it ended way to quick. Maybe a sequel, huh? There's that word again;) Have as much fun reading it as I did!
60 of 74 people found the following review helpful
Before I write another word, I just want to tell you that this book was fun. Is it capital "L" literature? No, but it's well-written, pulpy fun. Gosh, I wish there were more books like this. Now, on to the story...
After a brief, expository prologue, we meet Dr. Jeremy Logan, enigmalogist. When asked what it is he does, exactly, he answers, "More or less what it sounds like. I investigate phenomena that lie outside the normal bounds of human existence." Apparently, that encompasses proving the existence of the Loch Ness Monster and dealing with the occasional poltergeist. For his latest job, he's been hired by Dr. Ethan Rush of CTS--the Center for Transmortality Studies. After his wife's NDE--near death experience--the former anesthesiologist dedicated his life to the study of the phenomena. But Logan wasn't hired on behalf of CTS. There's another employer. Rush is a go-between in the employ of a very well-known man.
With few questions asked, Logan allows himself to be flown across the planet. They land in Egypt, where he has always wanted to work, but he is told, "I hate to disappoint you, Dr. Logan, but actually, it's nothing quite as straightforward as Egypt." It never is. Their eventual destination is the Sudd. This place is real, but I'd never heard of it before. Child quotes Alan Moorehead's non-fiction book The White Nile at length. It states, in part, "There is no more formidable swamp in the world than the Sudd." This place is an amazing setting for an archeological thriller--or any thriller for that matter--and that's even before they go diving in the mud!
I don't want to be much more specific about the plot of this novel. A big part of the entertainment is letting the revelations come in their own time. Child has crafted a novel where the more paranormal elements of the tale (which I have limited patience for) are well-balanced by real science in a variety of fields. There were moments, even, when things began to feel positively Crichtonesqe.
I mentioned above that this is not literary fiction, so don't expect in-depth character development, but Child has gathered an enjoyable and amusing cast of characters for this adventure. Do expect a compulsively page-turning pace. This is a novel designed to be read fast, preferably on a beach. As for Jeremy Logan, I can't say if we'll ever see him again, but Lincoln, could you please, please write up the story of how he proved the existence of Nessie?
26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2012
As a huge fan of Child, I plunked down the 12.99 without a single thought. Regret abounds.
This may be one of the worst Child books ever written. As usual, the writing is sound, but the character development is below Child's usual standard and the plot, though it starts well, dives quickly into oblivion at the end. The story begins with the near death experience of a doctor's wife and meanders into an archealogical dig of an ancient Egyptian king. The setting, deep below the swamp of the Nile, is interesting and the potential is here. But none of the expected drama or tension really materializes, it becomse predictable and unsatisfying. The expected curses on the tomb fizzle nicely and the intrigue so carefully built up ends in disappointment.
I would have been more content paying 2.99 or 3.99 for this book and may have rated it a 3 that way, given the value statement. I'll know better next time.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2012
I use to be a big fan of Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston but I have to say their last few books both individually and together seem to be half-hearted efforts, as if they're just going through the motions. I honestly wonder if they use ghostwriters these days so they can rake in the money without having to do any work.
The Third Gate seems to be a mish-mash of cardboard characters and ideas which become more far-fetched as the book goes on. The hero seems completely unimportant until he's needed to show up from time to time and explain what's going on. I think this will be the last book of Child or Preston I'll buy. Sadly, they seem past their prime, or they need to hire better ghostwriters.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 12, 2012
I used to be a HUGE fan of Preston and Child, and their earlier solo works. They excelled at creating a sense of wonder, blending exciting characters and situations with a sort of historical mysticism. Somehow along the way after becoming very successful they have started turning out formulaic reads that lack character depth and have lost that magical edge. This book started out with a promising premise, but slowed down midway and just kind of slogged its way to a predictable and unsatisfying conclusion. The main character was almost superfluous to the story - he pretty much was just an observer of what was going on. Interesting backstory tidbits, but he kind of did nothing of real importance in this book. All in all, a disappointment. I too, am about done with both Lincoln & Child. Kind of like M. Night Shamalan's movies - started out gangbusters with several fantastic films, but he lost his edge after a while. A real shame.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2012
High price to pay for boredom. Anyone who grew up in the 'Age of Aquarius' knows more about the paranormal than the - experts- in this novel!
Lackluster plot, weak characterizations, repetitious descriptions. No thrills, no chills, no surprises....and there could have been many too.
The opportunity was there. You missed it Child. I agree with one other reviewer - wait for the paperback, because this is waaay overpriced!
p.s. Preston and Child as a writing duo will shock you, thrill you, pull you into the story to become one with it. Writing separately? I find each of
them loses the 'soul' of their stories.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2012
I've read a lot of Preston & Child. A lot of Preston. A lot of Child. I'd put this story very near the bottom. Uninteresting story line that showed a lot of promise. Not very thrilling or suspenseful. I'm half way through and stopped reading. Other reviewers said the story went flat at the end. Flat at the end? It's flat already. Would not recommend at all. Best advice: reread Cabinet of Curiosities.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2012
Mr. Child writes decent thrillers, but they uniformly fail to measure up to the Pendergast series he co-authors with Douglas Preston. This latest offering, too, is a book that dutifully hits most of the thriller buttons but doesn't quite rise to the top ranks of the genre. The main character, Logan, is a history professor who is also an "enigmaologist", an occupation with considerable promise. Mr. Child throws in references to a number of enigmas Logan has examined and solved, some of which cross the boundary of known science. Thus Logan is hired as a consultant to an archaeological expedition that seems to entail, wait for it ... an ancient curse. On top of that, there is also a doctor and wife who are along as experts on near death experiences (NDE). With that as background, the normal reader will have little difficulty surmising where the plot will head. Logan is not a fully fleshed out character, leading one to guess that Mr. Child is planning to fill in the blanks in future episodes. Kind of disappointing but there it is.
Although neither characters nor plot is anything especially new, the locale makes the book worth reading. It is set in the great swamp leading into the Nile known as the Sudd. It is a territory so mysterious and inhospitable it could easily serve as the principal antagonist and, whether Mr. Child intended it or not, it almost steals the show in The Third Gate.
Bottom line: adequate summer fare that you won't remember next year, but an extra half-star for the Sudd, which you will probably remember with a shudder for a long time.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2012
The guy writes extremely well. That said, the story line here is erratic, sometimes engaging, often not. The ending is particularly weak. I'm glad I read the book but am disappointed with what could have been a better effort. Perhaps this is what happens to talented writers who feel they must publish nonstop...