8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Nice Addition to the Genre,
This review is from: The Columbus Affair: A Novel (Hardcover)
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Although I have long been a fan of the action/adventure/thriller genre, I've only recently come to read any of Steve Berry's novels, having read his first two published works and liking them quite a bit. This one, too, I liked, and there is nothing that I can point to that is "wrong" with it...it just didn't grab me the way my favorites in this genre have so I knocked it down 1 star.
In this novel, Berry follows his normal mode of researching the known facts of a particular person or historical situation (in this case, Christopher Columbus obviously), and creates a plausible story around speculation that has grown over the years. In Columbus' case that's pretty easy due to so few actual facts known about him and his voyages, his early life and especially his later life. So the plot here is pretty cool, it definitely moves at a quick pace, and it's full of intrigue, action, etc. I also can appreciate the risks that Berry took with the controversial aspects of Columbus' effect on history and I really liked how he extrapolated historical rumors and what-if's to create a plausible story.
So why not 5 stars? I wish I could express it better but I think it comes down to the characters. I'm not one that insists a novel's characters have to be "likeable" but I do have to be sympathetic to them in some fashion. I need to care what happens to them. To some degree I do here in this novel, but not completely. Berry uses a technique that many other genre writers also use, that of providing short, quick scenes, one right after another with differing point-of-view characters. But Berry really does that a lot here, and some of the scene shifts are so quick, many just a few sentences long, so that I became plot-focused rather than character-focused. It's like watching a movie and appreciating the car chases, helicopter crashes, and missile explosions but not really caring who is getting blown up in the process.
I'm being picky here. This will be a best seller for the author and it is definitely worth the read. I suspect those who have read fewer novels in this genre will enjoy it very much and those who have read a lot of these sorts of books may be pickier, like me.