The Lost Spear (Lost #0.5), by N.J. Croft

Eight stars

On the recommendation of a friend, I chose to look into the world of N.J. Croft’s work. I stumbled upon this free novella, which appears to introduce a new series and thought it the best place to begin. Dr. Eve Blakeley has had a life-long ambition to track down the whereabouts of the Spirit Banner of Genghis Khan, a spear wrapped in horse hair that is said to possess the soul of one of the world’s great terrorists. Stolen from its Mongolian home in the 1930s, Blakeley is given the opportunity to fulfil this goal while supervising an archeological dig. After some reticence, she agrees, but not before she is mysteriously visited by MI6 Agent Zachary Martin. Blakeley and Martin come to discover there may be more to the dig than meets the eye and proceed with caution. While in Mongolia, Blakeley finds herself living her dream, though it is much more dangerous than she might have expected. As Martin makes a covert appearance alongside those in the archeological group, both he and Blakeley come to terms with issues in their respective pasts that could trigger problems at any minute. Finding the Spirit Banner is anything but a simple task and things turn deadly as both sides—those who want the mystery revealed and those happy to bury it deeper—clash in the Mongolian desert. Blakeley is pushed to the brink, but also offered a second life-altering opportunity, if she can survive this one! An exciting piece by N.J. Croft that gets the blood pumping and hooks the reader to try the full-length novel next. Recommended to those who have a little time on their hands they need to fill, as well as the reader who likes an historical thriller with lots to tell!

I am happy I took the time to read this novella, as it proved to be well worth my time. With a captivating concept, N.J. Croft keeps the action going and the story moving at a clipped pace. Dr. Eve Blakeley is a decent character whose backstory is revealed a little with this piece. I was intrigued by her need to fulfil some long-awaited goal and yet finding that it is more than she expected, which may be why I chose her for my reading challenge (see below). A recent divorcée, Blakeley must put family before ambition, but the stakes are sometimes too high to ignore. I am eager to see what else the author has in store for Blakeley, as hints are made in the closing pages of the book about a new and even more dangerous adventure. Others in the piece work well to fuel both sides of the issue, offering the reader something exciting throughout without getting too silly. Croft mixes action with emotional connection to the topic at hand, which is expressed in keen dialogue between poignant characters. The story may not have been earth shattering, but this novella serves to pave the way for more, something the reader can discover in the full novel that follows this piece. With short chapters that build on one another, Croft keeps the reader wanting to know more. I am eager to sink my teeth into more work by the author, specifically the novel that follows this short piece.

Kudos, N.J. Croft, for a great introduction to your work. Your travels have surely helped hone your skills at storytelling, which are on offer here in spades.

This book fulfils Topic #2: Travel Buddy, of the Equinox #10 Reading Challenge.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: