in my experience book reviews are tricky things to get "useful" ones of. they either give you nothing in the way of why you should or should not read, or give up far too much of the book, making finding and reading it a redundant exercise. wish me luck, then, in finding some sort of middle ground.
the easiest way to do that is to present a simple enough summary of my view here, leaving you to read on or not read on. put short, then, The Soruce by Michael Cordy turned out to be one of the most enjoyable books i have yet to read, and anyone wishing to read a partially plausible, not at all demanding ripping adventure tale could do a good deal worse than try this one.
for those of you who choose to read on after an image of the cover, thank you for taking the time to do so and i shall do my level best not to give away spoilers and such like.
the novel starts (sort of) with a presentation by what one assumes shall be the protagonist, Lauren Kelly. we find her just as she is about to present to the academic world something that had been thought impossible - a pretty comprehensive translation of the legendary Voynich Manuscript. this is no trivial thing, for the manuscript has existed for some 500 years and yet no one has been able to work out conclusively what is in it due to the peculiar text or code pattern it is written in.
the translation or interpretation attracts some interest from beyond academic circles. it transpires that a senior, somewhat secretive area of the Catholic Church has been well aware of what is contained in the manuscript, and they are rather concerned at the idea of an exact translation being available to the world.
cutting to the chase somewhat and doing all i can to avoid spoilers, events take a turn that mean it is left to Lauren's husband, geologist and "ancient oil" explorer Ross Kelly, to, with some assistance, "follow" the translation his wife produced to find, well, pretty much what the title suggests.
to get the bad out of the way and, as much as i enjoyed reading the book, there are a number of "flaws" with it. the narrative is prone to going all over the place, with spectacular skips in its own timeline to give preference to getting the story moving along. not particularly bad, i suppose, but it does every now and then give one the sense that they are reading a "fleshed out" screenplay treatment rather than a novel.
on top of that, some of the "twists" taken are so obvious that they might as well not be in the book - huge signposts are planted for some key dramatic turns that take away from the suspense a great deal.
leaving those aside, as i said this is a truly wonderful read. i struggled to put it down, and now feel somewhat disappointed that it has come to an end, wondering if the next book i select to read will keep me as interested.
there's also the bashing of the Catholic Church in the book. i owe no allegiance to any church and thus this really was not an issue for me, but be warned as this aspect is highly likely to offend certain readers.
whatever i do read, i suppose, shall be easier to follow than the actual Voynich Manuscript. if you have not seen it before, here you go.
i stumbled upon The Source whilst browsing a bookshop. it was the fact that the Voynich was mentioned on the back cover that nudged me towards giving it a try. i certainly do not have the skills or resources to have a go at my own interpretation of it, but the fact that this text has stumped many fine brains has always been of interest to me.
just how plausible this particular interpretation of what the mysterious text pertains to is of course for your discretion. it's an unlikely interpretation, but all the same not one that is too outlandish or difficult to accept within the premise of the context of this work of fiction.
the novel does, for the most part, rely more on interpreting the drawings in the Voynich rather than the text.
a bit of research on the author suggests that a few people are inclined to dismiss him and his work as a "poor Dan Brown cash in". this is rather unfortunate, really. it seems that Cordy's first few books were renamed to feature the word "code" in the title after the insane success of Dan Brown's books. this, however, seems to not be the idea of the author, and this novel would best be described as similar-but-vastly different when compared to something like The Da Vinci Code. besides, as Dan Brown's books sell by the millions, what exactly is so wrong with "similar" books being around? many people enjoy this kind of reading.
i shall certainly be seeking out Michael Cordy's earlier books on the basis of reading The Source - i am very pleased to have found a new author to follow.
if the worst this book has been described as is as being "Indiana Jones meets The Da Vinci Code via hints of Heart Of Darkness" then that really is not a bad thing to be at all, considering how good, interesting and involving the story is. as hinted at above, both sensitive Catholics and those aloof types who only want to read serious, quality literature rather than just sheer enjoyment should perhaps steer well clear of this. to everyone else i say find a copy and enjoy!
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!