Saturday, September 1, 2007


Written by Robert Finn
Reviewed by Richard Marmo

When it comes to British writers and novels, I tend to avoid them. For whatever reason, they just don’t light my fire. For example, there are a huge number of Agatha Christie fans out there. I’m not one of them. On the other hand, I’ll read (and have read) just about everything that comes from the pen of Arthur C. Clarke. And there are others as well. In case you’re wondering, I’m not a anglophobe. Couldn’t be since my ancestry has English, Irish and Scot blood mixed in.

Now that I have you wondering where the heck I’m going, let me say that Robert Finn –who I have never heard of - has joined the ranks of British authors who I enjoy reading. If I was to summarize his latest book, Adept, into three words, it would be “I love it!”

If I had to categorize it from an American point of view, I would probably describe it as an action adventure novel with a dose of the occult thrown in. The publisher calls it a crime/mystery novel. While it is that, it’s also a lot more. As a matter of fact, one of the cover blurbs attributed to Andrew Taylor calls it “A British variant on The DaVinci Code and The Rule of Four.” In some respects that’s very likely an accurate description, but I’d suggest that the novel stands quite well on it’s own.

As for format, the book is a softcover (or paperback, if you prefer), utilizes a 5” x 7 ½” page size and runs to 446 pages of relatively small print and carries a U.S. price of $14.95. David Braun and Susan Milton are the two primary characters, but the book is populated with a substantial supporting cast to keep those two in trouble up to their necks. There’s plenty of danger, mystery and hints of what they’re actually chasing to keep you turning page after page. I couldn’t put it down.

From time to time, the British terminology that Finn uses (And why not? It’s as natural to him as Texas slang is to me) will have you taking a few seconds to figure out what it means in the context of the sentence. There is also next to no profanity, though you will find the "F" word a couple of times. But those are some of the things (among many others) that makes this book so appealing.

I’m not going to tell you everything about this book. That’d spoil the fun for you. After all, this is a novel and you need to enjoy the journey of discovery. What I will tell you is that David and Susan are involved in searching for an artifact (called a Marker) that has the ability to extend life expectancy. Presumably, under the correct circumstances, immortality, though that aspect is never specifically mentioned. Along the way, you have secret societies, a budding romance that both parties try to deny, danger, kidnapping, a climatic swordfight inside a church (that's what I said, even though the novel is set in present day London) and an enigmatic closing line in a letter from one of the supporting characters that suggests an even greater mystery and possibly a sequel to this novel. Dare we look forward to Adept 2? I hope so.

Oops! I just looked down at the very bottom of the back cover for what I thought was the price. In extremely small print is a line that says “Coming soon: Ex Machina, the stunning sequel to Adept.” Yippee!! I can’t wait to review that one!

If Robert Finn can maintain the tone established in Adept, keeping his characters fresh and the adventures interesting, regardless of what danger they’re placed in, Adept and the coming sequel could well be only the first two installments of an open-ended series.

Do you like mysteries, lost knowledge of the ancients, adventure, danger and romance, all served up with a dash of Indiana Jones? Then go get yourself a copy of Adept. You’ll love it.

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