Alexandria, Egypt, 1977. During a dive to an old shipwreck, archaeologist Isabella Warnock uncovers an artefact unlike anything she has ever seen: an astrarium, a mysterious ancient device rumoured to have shaped the destinies of pharaohs and kings since the beginning of time.
But her discovery comes at a terrible price, and it falls to her husband Oliver to keep the priceless object safe.
Up against a shadowy enemy and a powerful cult prepared to do anything for the treasure, Oliver is catapulted into a breakneck race to protect an ancient secret in a dangerous world of conspiracy and Egyptology, where age-old sorcery and legends clash violently with modern-day ambitions.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 560 pages, 50pp of Chapter headings
- Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
- Publication Date: 07/01/2010
- Category: Thriller / suspense
- ISBN: 9780751543476
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.
Review by SonicQuack
The idea of a clever and thrilling adventure in Egypt is great one. The lure is cast with Learner's title, however this is misdirection. Although the novel is, for the most part, set in Egypyt and there has clearly been some research conducted, there are no pyramids, no Sphinx and little adventure. The first half, as the characters and the mysterious plot are developed has a great air of intrigue, slowly tilting from science to spiritualism, a journey the protagonist is not keen to make. However the story soon becomes stale and the last third fails to gel with the book so far in terms of content, even though some of the intrigue remains. Sphinx could have been so much more, as it is though it's a run-of-the-mill story which fires at two genres and misses both marks.
Review by pierthinker
Ancient Egypt has a powerful hold on us today. We are drawn to what we see as a mysterious world. We are close to the Pharaohs through their vast monuments and extensive writings, but find much of what they did, or more to the point, why and how they did it, unfathomable. At the core of this fascination is the ancient Egyptian relationship with death and the afterlife. They seem to have a much closer, more intimate relationship with that transition from this world to whatever lies beyond.Learner has produced an interesting novel exploring how ancient rituals and beliefs can affect us today. This book is driven by changes: Oliver Warnock, the central character, moves from atheist scientist to a believer in an afterlife; the novel is set in the late 1950s as Egypt under Nasser moves to a more Western-oriented, but self-contained culture; the plot moves from an introspective psychological analysis of grief to a more action-oriented adventure.The novel has faults and is not as racy and adventuresome as the cover blurb suggests.
Review by cedargrove
couldn't remember seeing a sphinx pay a significant role in the story. I was so lost in the narrative that I'd totally overlooked it. It's there - trust me. From the beginning of the story, to the end, it gripped me, keeping me wondering whom was on whose side; from where would the danger next come. Once the story got going, I really couldn't put the book down.Although the novel is couched in the mythology of Egypt and the politics of the recent past, the story doesn't lose the reader in either, and by the end of the story, with the final events that provide the denouement, if your heart doesn't go out to Oliver - the character whose journey the story follows - then either you missed something, or the book's simply not your cup of tea.A final note, just to prove that the modern day 'First Medjai' gets everywhere, one of the acknowledgements made by the author is to Doctor Zahi Hawas.