To quote from the publisher’s blurb for Dominic Selwood’s first Ava Curzon thriller, The Sword of Moses: “Dr Ava Curzon is Lara Croft meets Evelyn Salt – the first real challenger to Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon.” A hell of a hook, but more importantly one that is not an exaggeration.
An African militia seemingly possesses the Ark of the Covenant, and Curzon, an MI6 officer turned achaeologist working for the British Museum, is tasked with tracking it down and verifying it. Accompanied by Ferguson, a former British soldier, she follows an ancient trail of clues across the globe and becomes embroiled in an age-old battle between good and evil. Crossing swords and minds with Templars and neo-Nazis along the way, the plot twists and turns towards a dark and unsettling ritual.
As you’d expect, a novel such as this contains a fair amount of history and background, but crucially the narrative is not compromised. Nicely woven in, it is intricate and clever yet never overwhelming, and kept me reading far later into the night than I thought. Selwood delivers the goods in this trilogy opener, a proper page-turner that promises more. Happily, the second installment, The Apocalypse Fire, this time featuring the Turin Shroud and Hospitallers, is just as gripping (and quite possibly better). Bring on book #3, I say!
Also see: The History of Things to Come by Duncan Simpson. A stolen art investigator, a notebook belonging to Isaac Newton, gangsters rampaging across London and a catastrophe of biblical proportions.