The Prisoner’s Gold (The Hunters #3), by Chris Kuzneski

Nine stars

Kuzneski reunites The Hunters for a third adventure, still reeling from the dramatic ending that saw the team fray at the edges. Brought together to locate the hidden treasure of Marco Polo, the team of ragtag experts are forced to complete covert acquisitions in Italy, synthesize significant documentation from the 13th century in China as well as parse through journals with vague descriptions of a European trader. With a group called the Righteous and Harmonious Fists hot on the trail of the Hunters, there is no time to bask in the history or the scenic nature of the territory. Men have died and more blood will be shed as the mystery expands to Tibet, where ancient manuscripts reveal more curiosities than concrete responses. However, the team remains standoffish as they question who has hired them to find the treasure and whether they are more than pawns in the grand scale of things. While the Fists will stop at nothing to obtain the treasure and kill the team, the Hunters have more on their plate than a simple mission. Kuzneski adds drama and humour to this high-impact tale and will keep the reader on the edge of their chair until the final sentence, which is explosive in and of itself.

I am a long-time fan of Kuzneski and all his writing. He stands on his own and crafts wonderful stories imbued with a great deal of history. His style does have hints of Steve Berry’s historical nuances and Nelson DeMille’s dry wit, but Kuzneski stands at shoulder height with these fiction giants. His attention to detail and well-developed narrative finds support with varied characters, all of whom flavour the larger plot in their own way. There is little of fault within these stories and Kuzneski knows how to mix lighthearted banter with serious adventure. This novel and the larger series will surely help develop scores of fans, especially as word gets out about the high-caliber writing found therein. 

While I do not usually do this, I would be remiss if I did not mention the narrator of the audiobook version I completed. Andy Caploe not only tells the story in such a way that the reader hangs on each sentence and will surely binge listen just to get to the next great part, but the use of numbers voices to differentiate each character helps provide a sensation permitting the listener to distinguish one speaker from another. These aural traits help shape the book in ways that reading alone cannot. I trust this technique can be utilised by more who handle narration, as it adds another layer to the story that helps the reader sink deeper into the plot.

Kudos, Mr. Kuzneski on another successful novel. I cannot wait to see where you take your readers and what sorts of twists you will inject into your stories to keep readers on their toes.