Mayan ruins; anacondas and bushmasters; cougars, piranhas, agoutis and macaques; bloodthirsty mosquitoes; poison darts and arrows; vine bridges over impossibly deep chasms and raging torrents; Indian mummies; lost tribes; impenetrable, steamy rainforest and jungle; buried treasure, machetes; dugout canoes; heroes and villains; plus an earthy, eco-friendly but suitably gorgeous love interest - Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark certainly had nothing over Douglas Preston's rollicking thriller "The Codex".
During his life, Maxwell Broadbent, billionaire art and antiquities collector and noted treasure hunter and tomb robber, thought his three sons, Tom, Philip and Vernon, misguided and lacking in the drive and ambition to be the best they could be. So, when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he decided to set them a quest whose successful completion would prove them worthy of earning their fabulous inheritance. Emptying his vast estate of all of its treasures, Broadbent left behind a video for his sons reporting his impending death and informing them that he was burying himself and all of his art, jewels, artifacts and trinkets in a carefully concealed tomb whose location of course was not disclosed. The clear directive was "Come and get me. If you find it, you earned it"! And, of course, as Sherlock might have said, the game was definitely afoot!
One of the artifacts - a 9th century Mayan manuscript called a codex - is a 2000 page catalog of rainforest drugs and medicines together with instructions on how to extract and use them. Its almost incalculable value to the pharmaceutical industry provides an exciting sub-plot and gives Preston the opportunity to showcase his well known ability to provide readers with interesting technical sidebars that inform and entertain without disrupting the flow of a wonderful, high speed thriller. In this case we savour juicy tidbits about medicines, stock manipulation, corporate malfeasance, the pharmaceutical industry and the history and practice of archeology and treasure hunting.
The climax and ending is pure Hollywood entertainment and suitably over the top. But, what the heck, it's warm and satisfying without being hopelessly sappy and will bring a smile to every reader's face. I will definitely be at the front of the line to see the movie version when it's released!
I was excited to start reading this book when I saw it in the bookstore; however, my excitement quickly turned to boredom as I struggled to finish this tale. One of the comments on the cover of the paperback claimed it was Amazing Race meets Raiders of the Lost Ark or something like that. It was neither. I was hoping for a fast paced, traveling adventure all over the globe, as the descriptions lead me to believe - but it wasn't. I was hoping for exciting tomb adventures with traps and puzzles and … more