Cover Image: The Lost Book of Wonders

The Lost Book of Wonders

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I was hoping I'd love this because it sounds right up my street but I had some issues with the characterisation a little bit that impacted my enjoyment.
Was this review helpful?
I've tried to pick this up to read it over and over again and it just doesn't catch my imagination. This could easily be a great book for the right reader but that reader isn't me.
Was this review helpful?
An interesting, but sometimes pondering read. While getting off to an interesting start, after the initial momentum slows down, the story starts to drag amid too much history and explanation. Without the character development, and with the language deficits, the plot turns into a slightly mediocre DaVinci Code that leaves little lasting impression after the final page. 

Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I tried so hard to get through this book, but it just wasn't working for me. It started off well enough but then was downhill. I couldn't care less about the characters, and although I can tell the author did a lot of research, I started to feel like it was all about all these details and the plot wasn't moving fast enough.
In the end, I got about half was thru the b0ok and decided I have so may others to read, I should just move on.
Was this review helpful?
This must be one of the longest books, it seemed to go on for ever.  And it grew ever more unlikely and unrealistic as time went on.  I did battle on and finish it but it was a struggle.  It's very muddled to begin with but then becomes easier to follow.  Very much in the Dan Brown school of writing although very long-winded and drawn out.  I would definitely not recommend, nor will I try another of his books in the near future.
Was this review helpful?
A great archaeological adventure! Blend of historical facts and wickedly fast adventure, as Ellie and Alex try to unravel the last book of Marco Polo they must stay ahead of the secret society who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. Fast paced and spine tingling.
Was this review helpful?
It started like any good adventure book, good pace, well researched. However, I just lost interest maybe because of the long explanations.
Was this review helpful?
Entertaining. This novel is well written, has a fast and exciting rhythm and explores the history of Marco Polo in a nice way. For readers looking for entertainment is an excellent read full of action and adventure.
Was this review helpful?
Kept me hooked from page one. I never get good archaeological thrillers that I can actually get through. The mystery and suspense kept me at the edge of my seat!
Was this review helpful?
I used to read a TON of these archaeological thrillers back when The DaVinci Code was really popular, but I don't think I've actually touched one in at least eight years. I mention this mostly because while I found this book very fun and enjoyable [if a BIT on the long side], I can easily see how someone who reads this genre a lot would be put off by all of the [if I am remembering correctly] really common tropes. It's pretty standard in the formatting although I personally haven't read one before that focuses on Marco Polo or the specific thing they are trying to find.

Looking back there were a lot of tropes in this. I found it a little bit too convenient how the bad guys always seemed to be able to hack their email at just the right moment or decipher their secret code immediately or happen to find a random piece of paper they left behind. The same goes for them figuring out the puzzles based on sheer dumb luck most of the time. Also the main female character is supposed to be the actual professional in the field but it seemed like the 20 something year old male grad student was the one solving 3/4ths of the puzzles. And then of course there's the unnecessary romance angle, although I GUESS being in so many life or death situations could cause you to develop feelings for someone that quickly. It's just so cliched though. But, as always with this genre, this is all stuff you kind of nit-pick about after you finish because while you're reading it's just so much fun to follow along and try to unravel the mystery.
Was this review helpful?
I was amazed when I realized this is a debut novel - the writing was excellent and the story was riveting. While reading it I felt as I did when reading Dan Brown's  'The Da Vinci Code' - totally engrossed and excited. I couldn't put it down. What a great adventure story! Archeologists follow clues left by Marco Polo, the great adventurer, to try to track down a legendary place - The Garden of Eden. There are those who wish to stop them and steal their clues no matter the cost. This was a 5 star read for me.

Many thanks to Chad Brecher and to Deeds Publishing through Netgalley for the copy in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Rating: 2/5

Such promise, such potential, such a tragic waste.

Chad Brecher’s ‘The Lost Book of Wonders’ begins on a very intriguing note — a man is secreting away a chest belonging to the famed Marco Polo, as Venice comes under siege from its own people. He is, expectedly unsuccessful, and the chest is lost to time.

Fast forward, and a feisty archaeological expert called Eleanor Griffin and a partner are involved in a failed expedition to extract important historical objects from Iraq, with the exception of a box.

In the present, Alex Stone, a graduate student of history and antiquities who has dreams of having Indiana Joneseque adventures, encounters Ellie Griffin and so begins our tale in earnest.

The story hits the ground running, and we dive headlong into a tale of international conspiracy and historical wonder as our heroes rush to unearth Marco Polo’s secrets, more specifically, his discovery of the Garden of Eden.

On the other side of the coin are a group of mercenaries headed by a South African and their shadowy benefactor, who are also after the same thing.

It should make for a cracker of a tale, but it’s let down by supremely poor and frustrating characterization of the protagonists.

For a world-renowned archaeologist, Ellie Griffin acts in an astoundingly immature way. She has little to do in the book apart from whine, complain, pout and in general, behave like an idiotic adolescent. She falls for Alex Stone ridiculously easily and spends a signification portion of the story hoping to get laid.

Alex Stone, on the other hand, can put no step wrong. He has an encyclopaedic (how convenient) knowledge of anything and everything to do with their quest, and for a fellow in his early 20s with little apparent experience of the world, is surprisingly resourceful. While all this is possible, the way the character is written makes it, frankly, ridiculously unbelievable.

And then there’s the mysterious pharmaceutical token rich guy, Clay, and his douche of a security guard, Jonas.

Clay, it appears, has his mind blown every time Alex Stone opens his mouth, while Jonas can only sneer, strut, and make cocky and bad decisions about their security.
Then we come to the baddies. What can I say about them? Very little. Even when the story ends, I had no idea of why Phillip was chasing the Garden of Eden. I didn’t know a thing about his motivations. He is your regular, run-of-the-mill, cackling bad guy who is also a twit.

The mercenaries are forgettable.

The story is paced quite well until the increasingly absurd climax.

Too much time is spent on certain characters, while not enough time is spent on others.

In a nutshell, don’t bother with this book, for it isn’t worth the trouble.
Was this review helpful?
The novel is a good read for those with an avid interest in history, adventure and escapism. There is a wealth of detail provided throughout and incredible subject knowledge displayed, although this could also be seen as a deterrent that gets in the way on occasion - sometimes explanations can be a little long-winded and repetitive. That said, there is enough plot here to keep the reader engaged and wanting to get to the end of the mystery.
The plot bears a resemblance to the kind of story the reader is used to from Dan Brown, with a clear hint of Indiana Jones thrown in for good measure, to keep the fantasy and adventure going. On the whole the characterisation is good - the main protagonists, Dr Eleanor Griffin and the graduate student, Alex Stone, hold appeal and there is something engaging and credible about them. There are lots of characters in the novel and some of them start to become a little confusing - not all of them seem to really have useful value and they are certainly not memorable.
Overall, the plot revolves around a mystery related to the explorer Marco Polo and the hunt is on to find some of his hidden treasures and the possibility that he found the Garden of Eden. Ellie and Alex, along with some other less desirable characters, set off in pursuit of this mystery, a journey which takes them from Venice to other parts of Italy, through France, England, Iraq, New York and Mongolia - not a trip for the faint-hearted! The ideas for the mystery are good and there are lots of hints and mysteries to solve, which would engage the reader, but sometimes it takes a while to get through them!
All in all, this is worth a read, but be patient and persevere - after all, 'if it were easy, then it wouldn't be worth it.'
Was this review helpful?
An archaeological thriller. Marco Polo. Genghis Khan. Garden of Eden. Everything is there.
The story is fast paced and keeps you on toe. It seems once I started reading, I cannot put it down. I love it so much. I would seriously suggest this book to those who love historical thriller. Not much of romance going on between the two leads. A hint here and there only.
So, nothing to distract you from the action paced storyline.
Was this review helpful?
In the archaeology meets adventure style of James Rollins and Clive Cussler, The Lost Book of Wonders follows the adventures of Dr. Ellie Griffin and her partner, student Alex Stone, as they attempt to unravel the lost adventures and discoveries of Marco Polo via some intriguing artifacts uncovered in old Venice. Little do they know, they are pursued by powerful enemies, who also seek this knowledge, and suspect that it has the power to change the world.

This novel is a fascinating take on Marco Polo's lost adventures, and the time he spent in the service of the great Khan. The mystery is set up really well, and is an original take on the genre. Clearly, this is well-researched, and some fascinating stuff is unearthed here and made for an interesting and fun read. Characters were believable for the most part and an enjoyable novel. The only caveat is that some of the situations didn't make sense to me. I didn't buy that Ellie and Alex could successfully evade their veteran pursuers time and again, for instance, and Alex's encyclopedic historical knowledge and genius-level sleuthing abilities were almost God-like, a bit much to expect from a grad student I think.

However, there was some fascinating history and a fun adventure following the trail of Marco Polo, and I recommend the novel. Thanks NetGalley for the review copy.
Was this review helpful?
This is a great adventure story. The premise of tracing Marco Polo's journeys and solving a great mystery he left behind is created in such a way as to be a grand puzzle. That said the story gets a little long and drawn out and has a few too many different groups of bad guys. The main characters need more characterization. Ellie and Adam are supposed to be well educated adults but they often seem to be almost child-like. They are  flat and a bit whiny and unprofessional. As a reader you want them to succeed in their quest but they are not very like-able. The various bad guys are rather stereotypical and flat as well. I feel that  with more work on developing his characters Chad Brecher will become a brilliant writer and I do look forward to reading his future endeavors.
Was this review helpful?
What lie will they create to mask this night? 

This was the first sentence that really got me interested in this great book. It is a great book with elements of mystery and, more important, history. It made me more interested in the life of Marco Polo, even though I do realise that many things in this book were not historically accurate. 

It brings back memories of Venice, even though it has been a long time since I've been there.  The occuring murders are efficient of driving the plot forward. It does seem like Dan Brown's books but for me, it was much more interesting.
Was this review helpful?
If you enjoy tales of adventure with a hint of history and mystery, this book just might be a great fit for you. Think along the lines of Indiana Jones or Dan Brown's series of books featuring Robert Langdon.) 

The main characters are primarily academics studying particular time periods of history. When a few artifacts are discovered, they are brought together on a wild ride that takes them across the globe.

The artifacts are tied to Marco Polo and the 'prize' is the Garden of Eden. The question is whether they can find what they are looking for or will they be killed in the process.

Overall, the book had plenty of adventure. Nothing seemed glaringly obvious as the plot unfolded. And when I reached the end I was already thinking about what the author's next book will hold. So, all in all a good read.
Was this review helpful?
With a mystery that would rival Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code", you hit the ground running as this action adventure with historical twists takes off from the prologue.  The scene is set - you know that contained somewhere in the pages to follow is the mystery - and at its heart, adventurer and explorer Marco Polo.

Just what could Marco Polo have discovered that is worth killing for??  Ellie Griffin and Alex Stone set off, as the clues lead them into the Mongolian heartland where Marco Polo spent time at the court of the Great Khan.

The story is told in short, sharp chapters, with the sense of ever adventure building - a true page turner.  This is an exciting first novel from author Chad Brecher.  Is there a series in this with Ellie & Alex teaming up for a new adventure ..... 

I read the e-version of this one - and would quite happily pick up a "hard copy" and place it next to my copy of King Solomon's Mines.  A writer well on his way to joining the likes of Rider Haggard, Clive Cussler, Alistair MacLean, James Rollins & Matthew Reilly.
Was this review helpful?
A fast-paced archeological thriller in the vein of James Rollins and Dan Brown. Two archeologists following Marco Polo's clues are chased by organizations who want the secrets which just might have to do with Genghis Khan and the Garden of Eden.
Was this review helpful?