Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Bone Hunters by Robert J. Mrazek

When we met Lexy Vaughan and Steve Macaulay in Valhalla, they were on the run for their lives while hunting for the centuries old body of Leif Erikson. The harrowing adventure was one that had serious national security ramifications and got the attention of some very powerful people in the US government. It's a recognition that has not been forgotten.

Now the government has called on Lexy and Macauley once again.

A new religion is gaining a foothold in China and it's basis is in the long lost body of the Peking Man. The remains, discovered in the 1920s, were thought to be the earliest evidence of Homo erectus. Unfortunately Peking Man was lost during WWII and no trace has been found since. 

The followers of the new religion believe that Peking Man is not only the first human, but a deity who started the human race. His recovery would be a boon to their movement, one the Chinese government will go to any and all lengths to wipeout before it gains further support. And though Lexy's specialty is in Norse history, she and Macauley, along with her mentor, have proven themselves an asset the US government knows they can rely on in tracking the clues that could lead to recovering this historic and monumental treasure. 

The Bone Hunters and its predecessor, Valhalla, are pure adrenaline popcorn fun! They're seriously the reading equivalent of a summer blockbuster. And the best thing is that the basis for the actual archaeology is real.

Robert Mrazek, while admitting he does take a bit of artistic license with the story, uses the very real Peking Man story as the jumping off point for this tale. In fact, the opening chapters involve a US military effort to safely transport the remains out of China before the Japanese can get their hands on it. Those remains have most certainly been lost for good but if anyone were to recover them, I've no doubt Lexy, Barnaby, and Macauley could do it.

These are very plot driven stories. There's not a whole lot of depth to the characters, a smidge of development sure, but much more attention is paid to the overall action. It means that this series features whiplash pacing and lots of danger but little in the way of "real" characters. That's really my one complaint about the series as a whole. Barnaby is a brilliant professor whose tastes are in great excess, Lexy is a brilliant archaeologist with an almost supernatural gut instinct, and Macauley is the action hero ex-military man who's virtually bulletproof (seriously, virtually bulletproof).

Honestly, though, if you're in the mood for something to take your mind off the stress of the holidays and make you feel like you're right in the middle of a dangerous Indiana Jones style archaeological adventure, then Mrazek's books are for you. They're guaranteed entertainment and - even better - there are two. You don't have to read them in order but if you want to see how it all started, Valhalla is the first in the series. The Bone Hunters is brand spanking new out this week.

Rating: 3/5

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