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Monday, July 30, 2012

Book Review: Masks of the Lost Kings

The Book Masks of the Lost Kings is an adventure into the ancient ruins of Egypt and the mysterious temples of the Mayans. There’s a romantic twist however, one that reminds me of the mummy movies. A beautiful librarian archaeologist named Suzy is snatched from Oxford University and thrust into a series of dangerous adventures and intrigue. All of this is happening after Ben Sanders, a treasure hunter (like Brandon Frasier) disappears in Mexico.

It’s a daring adventure book filled with imaginative far off places, renegades, assassins, and an ancient evil, which is a staple in these types of stories. Suzy joins forces with an astrophysicist named Tom Brooking, who together investigate the dark secrets of Tutankhamun’s tomb, the Holy Sepulchre and the mysterious Mayan Temple of Inscriptions.


“Try 66.6 degrees,”

Frowning, Tom began gently shifting the transparencies. Suddenly a new image emerged, a clear picture of a green jade snake. It had friendly eyes and two feathers sprouted from its head.

“Oh my God,” Suzy said. “It’s a feathered snake.” “Yes. My father discovered it first in other Mayan sculptures. And the jade death mask is another of these Mayan transformers, as you can see, it’s like a doorway to a hidden image. I’m not sure my father worked out that the angle must be exactly 66.6 degrees though.”

My Opinion

Overall, Masks of the Lost Kings was an enjoyable read. The only inaccuracy, and this is a pretty big one, is the mention of the reversal of magnetic fields. If Suzy and Tom were taking this information into account when trying to unlock the Mayan code, then their information would be inaccurate. Reversals occur on average, every 250,000 years to 50 million year, not every 5 years. I was provided this information by a geology professor with a Ph.D whose husband works for NASA as an astrophysicist. I realize that this book is not a textbook, but I failed to see the accuracies of the solar numbers as well as the harsh solar winds, and when they actually occurred and on what timescale.

Consequently, the book does have many accurate astronomic and mathematical details that are accurate.

“Occasionally the earth’s magnetic field is not strong enough to resist the solar wind at a solar maximum or a big solar storm and that’s when we experience blackouts and satellite damage”. This is when we see the aurora borealis from many locals, instead of centralized, but it is very occasional, and very rare.

I think the field of archaeology has actually jaded my opinion, because the field is nothing like this book. I wish it were. I wish we all could have adventures while out digging ditches or postholes, but that’s why we have books. Either way, I think this book represents something deeper than just a love story based in the sun soaked desert sands. There’s a general desire to prove the legends and secrets of the Egyptians and Mayans were actually factual events and predictions. Several years of archaeology and anthropology classes, with professor who have spent their lives proving the entire Mayan 2012 end of the world synopsis is a big fat scam, has caused me to question every event that ever occurred thousands of years ago, unless I can actually hold something concrete in my hands.

My general opinion then is this: Archaeologists, historians, and even astrophysicists will question the details of the book instead of enjoying the very nature and storyline; students who actually take the time to read instead of text will get lost in words like “unlock”, “code”, “secrets”, and “double meanings”, and book lovers will appreciate the amount of details and research that went into telling such a fluid and fascinating tale.

I’m a mix of all of these I believe.

Author Bio

Tom Bane grew up in England. He studied physical chemistry at University and went on to work in the energy industry before becoming a writer. The son of an engineer and a school teacher, he has always had a fascination for the interplay between science and beliefs, and these themes provide the backdrop to his novels. He had the idea for the Suzy da Silva series one day in 2008 whilst out walking with his dog in Cornwall near Tintagel Castle. His first novel “Masks of the Lost Kings” took him over two years to write and research, visiting the ancient ruins of Egypt and South and Central America. His first novel was published in 2012, and has exceeded all expectations. Since then, he has been busy on his second novel in the Suzy da Silva series, with more novels in the series already in the pipeline. Tom appears regularly in the media and is highly rated by fans and booklovers alike. He spends his time living and writing in the USA, UK and Thailand.

Disclosure: Ancient Digger (that’s me) received Masks of the Lost Kings to review at my discretion. I was not compensating monetarily for the information provided.


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