27 August 2012

Audiobook Review: The Alexander Cipher by Will Adams

Title: The Alexander Cipher
Author(s): Will Adams
Narrated By: David Colacci
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Action, Adventure
Publisher/Date: Grand Central Publishing / January 1, 2007
Series: Daniel Knox Series (Book #1)

"An unconquerable warrior king, Alexander was the single most powerful man on the planet and thought to be a god. Now, nearly 2,500 years later, the discovery of his tomb, seemingly lost forever, is within reach, triggering a deadly hunt for one of the greatest treasures of all time. Knox is not the only seeker; others are after the prize, and they would kill to win it." –Amazon.com

Case Study
What do you get when you cross Alexander the Great, Homer (not Simpson) and Ancient Egyptian lore? You get The Alexander Cipher—a race to discover the lost tomb of the ancient world’s greatest warrior. Anyone who’s met me knows that I’m a self-professed historical fiction/adventure enthusiast. If Indiana Jones had a secret affair with Michael Bay, the resulting love-child would be my favourite kind of book. Something like, say, this one. Written in the style of Clive Cussler or Steve Berry, Adams has crafted a riveting narrative full of action and adventure with a twist of compelling mystery.


The Game's Afoot
Alexander the Great is an incredibly intriguing figure and it’s evident that Adams has done his homework. His research blurred the lines between fact and fiction seamlessly and there’s definitely something to be said for that. The main problem I’ve found with this genre is that there’s a thin line between need-to-know fact and tedious detail. Many novels go so far in-depth with the facts that you’re left feeling like you’re sitting in a classroom. Adams balances the nitty gritty detail with just enough flair to keep you feeling engaged, not bored. There are plot twists and cliff-hangers looming around every corner; enough to keep you on your toes. Any novel that can blend the likes of history with the throes of an edgy thriller is a total winner in my book.

I guess my only real problem with The Alexander Cipher was the lack of an appealing main character. It’s not that they weren’t likeable, for all intensive purposes, they could be worse; it’s just that they aren’t notably strong. Adams missed the mark in making our main man, Daniel Knox, identifiable. He’s an enigma with one too many personality shifts—American to British to Egyptian—it’s just distracting. Our leading lady, Gaille, is way too weak and fickle for my tastes. One minute she hates Knox and the next minute she loves him. I couldn’t quite keep track. And look, I get it. Archaeologists aren’t action heroes. Understood. But would it have been too much to ask to take a little fire from Gaille’s overbearing boss, Elena, and shove it into her instead? Her timid act was just not relatable from a reader’s standpoint. I wanted to shake the meekness right out of her the entire time I was reading.

While this might seem like a huge issue (believe me, in most cases it is) Adams supplements this loss with an amazing cast of supporting characters. Tell me you’re not intrigued by a man like Mohammed, who risked everything to save the life of his terminally ill daughter. Tell me you wouldn’t like to kick some serious ass with the likes of Knox’s Aussie pal, Rick. Tell me you weren’t floored by the dedication of Dr. Ibrahim Beyumi. I’ve never seen someone who loves their job so much and it’s inspiring. Oh and the honorable goon Nessin. Honorable goon? An oxymoron, yes, but still true nonetheless. These guys are worth reading about and these guys made me overlook the book’s inherit flaws. Girlish side note here: I have a bit of a bookish crush on Knox’s wayward friend, Augustin. He’s just so damn charming! I’d be like total putty in those French hands of his!

Despite the book’s shortcomings, all in all, the twists and turns kept me satisfied enough to overlook them. There was an unpredictability in where Adams was going with storyline and enough action to keep the Bay in me at bay. When I finish a historical book and feel an immediate thirst for more knowledge on said subject, I know something was done right. The Alexander Cipher accomplished such a task and did exactly what a book of this genre should do—kept me turning the page and wanting for more.

Summary Prognosis
This genre is my total guilty pleasure and with that being said, it’s tough to disappoint. But in a sea of Dan Brown wannabe’s, Will Adams’ debut novel stands strong on its own two feet. I’ve read the second in the series and do look forward to reading more from him. Adams has found himself a dedicated new fan! And if you prefer the auditory experience, I’ve listed to the audiobook, it comes highly recommended.

Rating: ★★★½

Read It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
Discuss It: Goodreads | Author's Website 


  1. Sounds like a good one, I love it when historicals blend fact and fiction nicely like that. Even if the author missed the mark with Daniel Knox, the storyline and supporting characters sound great. Nice review!

  2. This is definitely a fun story if you enjoy history. There's a lot of gritty action and an abundance of other likeable characters, even if Adams missed the mark with Knox and Gaille. I'm listening to the sequel on audiobook right now, actually!


You stay classy now! And thanks for stopping by. But mostly stay classy.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...