I leapt into the world of N.J. Croft on the recommendation of a friend, which appears to have paid off well. After devouring the opening novella, I turned to this book, which I was sure would offer more insight into the mysteries of Genghis Khan. Rather, it packs a thrilling punch and takes things in some other, but entertaining, directions. Noah Blakeley works in a highly trained group for the American Government, searching out and neutralising terrorist groups. Working inside Project Arachnid, he is alerted to the news that his ex-wife, Dr. Eve Blakeley, was killed in a plane crash in Russia. Not only that, but Blakeley must now relocate to the United Kingdom to take care of his three estranged children. As Blakeley gets his feet under him, he begins poking around into what Eve had been doing, learning a little about her Genghis Khan work and what she was trying to find. The more he uncovers, the stronger the sense is to Noah that Eve was killed by a group seeking to protect all things related to Khan’s resting place, as a strong legend surrounds what could happen when the secret location is revealed. Noah makes plans to travel to Russia and potential Mongolia to uncover what was known and get to the root of it all. Working alongside an apparent colleague of Eve’s, Noah realises that he may have taken on more than he should. A call from back in the UK reveals that someone’s kidnapped his daughter and wants the whereabouts of the secret tomb discovered. Fuelled by determination, Noah does all he can, knowing that one false move could see him dead and his daughter’s body sliced by a sick group calling themselves the Descendants of Genghis Khan. All this, while a major terrorism conference is set to open in Russia, where many world leaders will attend and could be killed. An exciting follow-up to the novella, Croft keeps the reader guessing as they travel down many a rabbit hole in order to discover the truth from centuries ago. Recommended to those who need a little adventure in their lives, as well as for readers who enjoyed the opening novella.
I am happy to have taken up the N.J. Croft challenge and will surely explore some of the other novels that have been published but are not part of this small collection. While I was expecting more Dr. Eve Blakeley, Croft chose to explore things from the other side of the coin, offering up Noah instead. A gritty man with a military background, Blakeley has the domestic life parachuted into his lap, as he makes the best of a horrible situation. However, given the right mix of situations, he shows his true colours and can battle with the best of them. His hard exterior is offset by a love for his pre-teen daughter, whose life is all but certain. Croft utilizes his protagonist well and presents a handful of other secondary characters whose presence keeps the story moving effectively. There is truly a mix of action with emotional connection in a story that seeks to build off the previous novella, while also standing on its own. The story works well and has a few twists that take the plot in unforeseen directions, while a mix of chapter lengths allow each to build on one another. Croft writes in such a fashion that the reader is left wanting to know more. I will gladly try another of the standalone novels, as this reader worked well and kept me intrigued until the final reveal.
Kudos, N.J. Croft, for a great (though brief) duology, which got me at least a little curious about Genghis Khan. I hope others discover all your work and your fan base increases.
A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons