There are times when I go into the bookstore, walk the rows, and let my instinct select the purchase. This time my instinct told me to purchase Andy McDermott's The Tomb of Hercules. It turns out this is part of a series, exploring various legendary myths through the adventures of a non-married couple. Reading the back cover I was excited at the prospect of a new mythic adventure.
The book isn't quite what I was hoping for, unfortunately. I'm not sure if I placed my expectations too high, or the book didn't live up to the expectation it set up in the packaging. Nevertheless, there were several areas that bogged it down for me.
I knew there was going to be a problem when the prologue dragged on for nineteen pages. The worst part of those pages? It could've been written in about one-third of that...if McDermott wouldn't drag on and overdose his reader with useless description. One sniper assassination seriously took several pages to write out. A whole paragraph to describe night goggles! Thanks to Bond and Bourne everybody and their mother knows about night goggles. You don't need five sentences to describe them.
This wasn't an issue with just the prologue either, the whole book is plagued with boring descriptions. I kept getting painfully sucked into pages of minor, useless aspects that I had to go back just to figure out what the point of the scene was supposed to be.
Most disappointing to me was that the actual journey to find the Hercules tomb didn't even start until almost the end of the darn book. The first two-thirds was spent in a muddled intrigue plot that I think was trying to add complexity to the story. To make matters worse, they only stayed in the tomb for, I believe, one chapter (possibly a chapter and a half...no more than that), then were out and back in the odd world domination plot.
The protagonists motives were cliche, cardboard, and ultimately unbelievable. I was frustrated with the smothering of stereotypes in this story and the dry dialogue and interaction between characters. The main female character was supposed to be an experienced archaeologist but acted more like a prissy city girl instead. The main male character was just a jerk with a bad mouth and no unique characteristics.
My assumption is that the author was attempting to mix Indiana Jones with James Bond. For me, it clearly missed the mark. I love the concept he's built and done right it would be a fantastic story. I will not be reading any other book in the series to see if they hit their objective better then this one.
Dud may be a bit harsh but I will say sluggish.