Brilliant New Orleans Professor James Beauregard’s life is spiralling into complete despair when a startling discovery is made halfway across the globe that requires his expertise. Is there really an ancient machine that could push civilisation into the throes of oblivion? As he attempts to unlock the secrets of this waiting apocalypse, Professor Beauregard is hunted by an archaic fundamentalist cult determined to bring about humanity’s end-of-days. Will he find the key to stopping the world’s oldest weapon of mass destruction, or will the Cult’s wish to purge all evil be the Earth’s demise?
A short while ago J.M. Richardson contacted me through the blog, asking if I would like to read and review his latest book, The Barataria Key which is published on December 21st. In chatting with him, I discovered it was the second book of a series featuring the main character. And while the books are to some extent stand alone, I had to purchase and read the first in the series.
I am so happy that I was contacted, as The Apocalypse Mechanism did not disappoint. I would say this book felt very much like Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon work, which I enjoyed very much. But I think I preferred this book! I found the lead, Dr James Beauregard was more real – a man with a personality, plagued with his own demons that we get to know throughout the book. Robert Langdon in Brown’s works feels a little wooden.
Early on Richardson introduces the mystery that unravels throughout the book. It’s a complex, but not unnecessarily complicated mystery that couples with it plenty of suspense and tension as the story, and the main characters travel the world to uncover a sinister, centuries old plot and ultimately bring it to an end.
The core characters are introduced and built upon cleverly, slowly layering up their subtle intricacies allowing the reader the chance to feel like they really get to know the characters. This really hit home when I found myself rooting for them when things really went against them. The mystery that they unravel was made more plausible because it is rooted in history, and the author went to good length to explain the history well enough to build a good level of context to things. However accurate or embellished the history may be, Richardson presented it witch such confidence as to imply a great amount of research had been done in the writing of the book.
The action was intense without being overly gratuitous, the characters were engaging and human, and the the “villains” were believable. As an overly devout religious cult, they weren’t portrayed as they so often are in Western media, Rather, they seemed deeply pious, courteous even and most importantly, it was clear they truly believed in what they were doing. This, in some respects, made them even more unnerving.
The book is well paced, and although it involves a bit of globetrotting, nothing feels forced or rushed making for a fun, action-packed book that while initially feeling like a Dan Brown novel, in my opinion The Apocalypse Mechanism actually outdoes them!