Review - The Orpheus Descent by Tom Harper

The Orpheus Descent - Tom Harper

This was a great story AND I learned some stuff.  I haven't read anything else by this author and I wasn't really sure what to expect with this, I had just heard that it was an ancient mystery thriller type story and had a Dan Brown feel to it so I was looking forward to it.  I'll admit I wasn't immediately hooked and I was feeling a bit lukewarm towards it until I got three or four chapters in but from then on I could hardly put it down.

It's a dual timeline story and a lot of the time it felt like I was reading two separate tales but they were both great tales so it was win/win.  One aspect I was a bit worried about was that one storyline was told from the point of view of Plato, and his part of the tale is filled with Greek God's and philosophers and in truth I thought a lot of it might go over my head as the closest I've come to anything remotely like that was the time I watched Disney's Hercules...  My fears were unfounded though, Plato and his contemporaries were a joy to read about.  Interesting, puzzling, fascinating...I loved all of it.  When we first meet Plato he is setting off from Greece by ship to meet his friend in Italy who has asked him to bring funding for a special book he has found but can't afford.  The rendezvous hits a setback from the very start and Plato's task is to try and find his friend and solve the mystery surrounding the book he wanted to buy.  


Plato's modern counterpart in alternating chapters is Jonah, a band member who has recently come off tour and is keen to reunite with his archaeologist wife who he hasn't seen for the 6 weeks he's been off touring Europe.  Like Plato his meeting doesn't go smoothly when his wife goes missing and as he tries to piece together the mystery that surrounds her disappearance we see the parallel's to Plato's story start to unfold.

The two stories are set more than 2000 years apart but by alternating chapters we see how closely they are intertwined and riddles posed in Jonah's chapters were usually answered in Plato's chapters and vice versa.  It's very well done.

The only thing I wasn't keen on was the ending.  The book held my interest right up to the conclusion but I found the ending unsatisfying.  It just seemed a bit rushed and I just wasn't as enamored with it as I was the rest of the story.  

All in all a great story though and I plan to read all the other author's works too.  


Note: I received a free copy of this title from the publisher.