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The Compass Master Paperback – September 16, 2011
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Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
"...unlike many Da Vinci Code wannabes, the internal logic holds together." Publishers Weekly
From the Author
- One of the secret codes my characters must crack is an alphanumeric one built into the dimensions of a medieval cathedral.
- The power behind the enemies of Layla Daltry are members of the real-life Council for National Policy, a powerful, secretive, and notoriously shadowy group of extreme right-wing billionaires, American politicians, and religious leaders.
- Scholars have fought over the Book of Revelation from the moment it was included in the New Testament. At the time many other "revelations" were in circulation, but the newly established Church suppressed them because most did not predict the end of the world and, even worse, were often visions not of sin and damnation but of divine illumination.
Top Customer Reviews
I hope some of you will buy or review this book. As a self-published work, it needs word-of-mouth promotion, which is why I am writing this review. I want to help you decide if this book might be right for you.
The richly imagined and researched plot is more realistic than a Dan Brown novel. The historical accuracy and details add to the fascination of the story. Several times I found myself researching historical facts mentioned in the book, thinking to myself "That can't be true..." and discovering that I had much to learn about the early church, the construction of a medieval cathedral, and a number of other points that would be plot-spoilers to mention here.
Although directly influenced by the action-hero trope of which James Bond and Lara Croft are examples, Layla Daltry is much more human, more humane, and a more personal hero. She is a disappointed scholar turned adventurer, a thief and an antiquarian, a spy and martial artist, a lover and a loner. Unlike most action-adventure heroes, she is not a super-woman cleverly disguised as a human being, but rather a vulnerable, admirable woman pushing herself beyond human limits.
Ms. Soister has entangled her in an unforgettable web of intrigue peopled with vibrant characters.Read more ›
The flavor of this book is similar to The DiVinci Code, but with all the I's dotted and the T's crossed--the background taken from real historical fact. The characters are likable and the relationships realistic. Even the physical facts are accurate as the author took the care to learn to pick clocks, scale walls and learn some of the martial arts skills Layla uses. I also loved the careful balance the author used in both revering and respecting people of faith, while highlighting dangerous zealots and those who'd use the system to their own ends.
Our heroine is passionate, independent, free spirited Layla. She reminds me of a modern day combination of Robin Hood, Thomas Crown, and Indiana Jones. She has the skills of a cat burglar and loves a physical challenge.
I loved the brilliant, feisty Reverend Mother, who has secrets to protect. The tension and attraction between Layla and her former lover, Zach, adds interesting complications. And Layla's mentor, Professor Maeve Finnegan-Bryson, is a fascinating character who reappears throughout the novel in flashbacks. Layla is determined to finish the work that her mentor began.
The action is almost nonstop beginning in Bosnia with Layla rescuing a thirteenth century book and returning it to its rightful owner. When she hears of her mentor's death, she hurries back to Ireland and the adventure is on. She must travel to Rome and Greece to solve the mystery with an assassin on her tail the entire way.
I loved this book. It's fast paced action with intrigue, puzzle solving, religious controversy that makes you think, and a surprise twist at the end. Layla is the kind of heroine that makes me want to go out and live my own adventure.
So what is The Compass Master? In short, it's a book that chronicles the discovery of extraordinary Biblical artifacts: the alleged final epistle by Paul written by the apostle himself, another by the granddaughter of a female apostle who debunks the Book of Revelation in the New Testament, and one by the monk who hid both of these.
The story is told through differing points-of-view (third person omniscient). The main one is Layla Daltry, a sexy, athletic, and incredibly smart heroine who (when teamed with Zach--an equally sexy male counterpart) is able to unravel a mystery that the Catholic church has kept secret for centuries. Another character is a nun who is in her own right a heroine with church secrets to protect. Finally, there are the bad guys, twin brother assassins in service to an American who want to stop Layla Daltry from fulfilling her quest which could create a firestorm among the academic and religious authorities of the Christian world.
So in analyzing this book, it may be best to start with the question "Who are the Compass Masters?" They were men who called their drawing compasses "diviners" because they believed in sacred mysteries which they could divine through mathematics. In other words, they attempted to explain mysteries through secret codes that they then built into actual structures.
I tend to think that the title "The Compass Master" is a nod to Zach who is essentially one of these "Compass Masters" if not actually a part of that society because he figures so much out by using math.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Compass Master is an exciting thriller that is beautifully written, fast-paced, and with so many twists and turns I couldn't put it down.. Read morePublished 16 months ago by EdRoth
In The Compass Master, Helena Soister has created a wonderful cast of believable characters. I loved them all, from Layla to the little boy in her building, even the villains. Read morePublished on October 13, 2013 by Carol Kilgore
A little on the light side but I enjoyed reading this. It is a very interesting supposition on the role of women in early Christianity.Published on April 21, 2013 by Linda
The Compass Master is one of the best historical fiction books I've read in years. Layla Daltry is a Dirk Pitt spirited character in a Dan Brown style adventure. Read morePublished on December 5, 2011 by TG