129. The Codex (Douglas Preston)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Once again, my brain refused to concentrate on anything that required much mind power so I reached out for something action packed, adventurous and slightly silly to read next. I found it in Douglas Preston’s The Codex.

After a lifetime of tomb raiding, looting, and treasure hunting, Maxwell Broadbent amassed a huge fortune and a collection of rare art and artifacts. When he and his entire collection suddenly disappear without a trace, his three sons are left baffled and the police are clueless. While searching through what little was left behind, they find a video tape (the book was originally published in 2004) with a last message from Broadbent to his sons. Disappointed with how their lives have turned out, Maxwell Broadbent has set his sons one final, seemingly impossible task. He’s buried himself and his entire collection in a tomb somewhere in the world and, if they want their inheritance, they’re going to have to find it.

The brothers set off on their own to find the treasure, each for their own reasons, but things turn from bad to worse as they’re mercilessly pursued by Broadbent’s former partner, a private investigator without a conscience eager to seek revenge, corrupt soldiers working for the highest bidder, and hostile natives.  And don’t forget all the creepy crawly jungle creatures hungry for their next meal.  Throw in a Mayan text with all the medicinal knowledge of the rain forest which everyone wants to get their hands on, and you’ve got the makings of a great adventure.

The Codex reminded me a lot of James Rollins’ novels but with a tongue in cheek, “I know this is cheesy but you love it” vibe. A blurb from Entertainment Weekly on the cover reads “Raiders of the Lost Ark meets The Amazing Race!” is not far off. One of Preston’s solo novels (he often teams up with Lincoln Child), The Codex was a fast, fun filled read. While the book isn’t written to be funny, it definitely had the feel of the action adventure comedies of the early 80s including Indiana Jones movies and Richard Chamberlain’s Allan Quartermain.

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