My last read of 2009 is my fellow Drollerie author Michael Stewart’s 24 Bones, a book that’s surprisingly hard to pin down into any specific genre. It’s set in the modern day world, and yet it doesn’t play out like what most readers would think of as “urban fantasy”; the feel of it is much more akin to a suspense novel, albeit with fantastic elements, i.e., Egyptian gods coming to life. You might be tempted to think Dan Brown when you think of how this book’s about the clash between two ancient Egyptian cults and how a professor from Toronto is pulled into it when he receives a cryptic coded message. Don’t. This book is simultaneously more and less complicated than a Brown novel, in all the correct ways.
We have the Shemsu Hor and the Shemsu Seth at each other’s throats as the time of Seth’s ascension is at hand, and Horus is on the wane. Set off against them both are the Sisters of Isis, keepers of the Balance, who are determined to keep both good and evil from becoming too dominant. And against this larger backdrop we have Samiya of the Shemsu Seth, raised to do evil, use the powers of the Void, and serve the Pharoah–while Taggart Quinn, hauled into this conflict by the mysterious message he’s received, learns that his place in the unfolding events is far greater than he could have imagined.
There were times when I had a bit of difficulty following the events of the story; the narrative jumps very quickly from one event to the next when there surely must have been a little time between them, particularly in the latter half. More than once I had a “wait, what?” reaction, and this kept me from finishing the story as quickly as is my wont, since I had to take the time to absorb what I’d just read. But, that said, I was genuinely surprised by some of the directions this plot took, and I have to give it huge props for that.
Props too for the final tying together of the plot threads involving Taggart and Sam, and for the moment of delicious irony when a TV evangelist’s flock, called to prayer during the climax of the plot, is not at all doing what they think they’re doing. Over all, four stars.