Thursday, May 12, 2005

Jon Fasman, The Geographer's Library, 2005.

Fasman's thriller blends two plots: a contemporary murder mystery, and the sinister recovery of a number of objects related to alchemy. Or, as the blurb from Penguin's webpage about the book puts it, "competing visions of an obscure professor's life take a young reporter from a sleepy New England town to the heart of an international smuggling ring that may hold the secret to eternal life."

The images that the objects provide, and their interpretations, may be the most intriguing part of the book, but the book takes far too long to read for those alone. The contemporary murder mystery is plodding and far from satisfactory in its resolution; the only compelling portion of that tale is the characterization--particularly of the main character, Paul Todd.

All in all, this book seems to be in the vein of the The Rule of Four and The DaVinci Code: it's chosen interesting subject material, and done not enough interesting story-telling around it.