These discussions are always interesting; I wish everyone could come really. It’s amazing how diverse the selection of books can be. This time it seemed like the books fell into two distinct categories: the historical adventure with descriptive details and a slower pace book or the contemporary adventure with lots of action and a faster pace. So this is what everyone is saying about their choices:   

Evelyn: The Codex by Douglas Preston. After collecting artifacts from around the whole world all his life, treasurer hunter Max Broadbent, is dying of cancer. He leaves a videotape to his three sons announcing that he has buried himself and his half-billion dollar art and antiquities collection in a tomb in an undisclosed location. If the sons, Thomas, Phillip, and Vernon, want their inheritance, they must track down the tomb. This begins a long treasure hunt through the jungles and rain forests of Honduras. The title refers to a codex, a Mayan compendium of plant pharmacology that becomes the most hotly contested object of the treasure hunt. The story line switches between the separate treasure hunting parties of the three brothers and a pharmaceutical company executive as well, who desperately needs the codex to keep his company from going bankrupt. The action converges in a final showdown over the treasure. This story has vivid descriptions of the jungle and its dangers. There are so many exotic natives, battles between man and beast, chases, narrow escapes, and ancient ruins that it resembles an Indiana Jones movie.

Me: In Timeline by Michael Crichton, historians are thrilled with their discoveries in Dordogne, France. The area is revealing new facts and ideas about 14th century France, but the high tech company that’s sponsoring the excavation seems to know what archaeologists will be finding before it’s found. While time traveling might seem like an outlandish idea but Mr. Crichton is able to make it seem like it could actually be true. I love his simple explanations of difficult scientific ideas and the fact that he can add in action and adventure? What a genius!

Emma: The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti. 12-year-old Ren has lived at St. Anthony’s orphanage for as long as he can remember. Eventually Ren is adopted because of his disability, a missing left hand. Benjamin Nab convinces a priest at the orphanage that Ren is his brother and adopts him. Benjamin makes money begging and stealing and Ren will be the perfect addition in his schemes. They become petty thieves and grave robbers with assistance from a few others along the way. Eventually Ren becomes part of a long-awaited family actually finding a biological connection.

Carol: Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon is an adventure tale set in the 10th-century empire of Khazaria, a forgotten kingdom of nomadic Jews in the Mountains of southern Russia. The story centers on two world-traveling Jewish bandits, loveable swindlers who refer to themselves as “gentlemen of the road.” Amram is the hulking Abyssinian and his companion is Zelikman is the skinny Frankish physician. The two friends have witnessed horrible atrocities befall their families. Readers meet the two in the Kingdom of Arran, where they con the customers of an inn with a staged duel. There, they are hired to safeguard the teenager Filaq, a fugitive Khazar whose rightful throne has been claimed by his uncle. Amram and Zelikman set out on a quest to restore Filaq to the throne and to try to bring peace back to the region. Despite the seriousness of the men’s task, this book is packed with action and good humor.

Ann: Blue Horizon by Wilbur Smith. Jim Courtney falls in love with Louisa and rescues her from a Dutch prison ship. His family aids in their escape, but soon the entire family finds themselves running from Dutch officials. Their overland and sea journeys are one adventure after another. Set in South Africa in the 1730’s, this sprawling tale is one of twelve that Wilbur Smith has written about the Courtney Family.

Megan: The Lost Island of Tamarind by Nadia Aguiar. Thirteen year old Maya is tired of her life at sea with her marine biologist parents and younger brother and sister.  She longs for a normal life of land.  When a storm at sea throws her parents overboard it is up to the children to try to rescue them.  They head for land in the hope of either finding their parents or finding someone who can help them.  The children quickly learn that they are in a mysterious land full of carnivorous vines, pirates, wild animals, and an evil witch who kidnaps children to work in her mines.  With the help of a native boy, Helix, Maya and her siblings manage to navigate the dangers of the mysterious island of Tamarind.

Donna: Prism by Faye Kellerman and Aliza Kellerman is a non-stop, action-packed adventure thriller. It is geared for young adults but adults will not be able to resist this exciting page-turner! This is Aliza’s first book with her mother. Kaida, Zeke and Joy are California high school students on a field trip to the Carlsbad Caverns. When a terrible accident destroys the van they are riding, also killing their driver and chaperone, the kids find refuge in a cave. The next morning, Kaida wakes up in her own bed and everything seems the same, or is it? Could she have been dreaming about the accident? What about Zeke and Joy? Who is this Ozzy she’s never met before in her school and why is no one allowed to get sick? Kaida is determined to find out why.

Rosemary: Heretic is the last book in Bernard Cornwell’s Grail Quest series. It takes place in the early 1400s during the Hundred Years’ War. Thomas Hookton, an archer from England, is the illegitimate son of a priest. His father’s family was known to have possession of the Holy Grail, and his cousin killed Thomas’s father over the location of the Grail. Thomas desperately searches England and France for the Grail. He and his men take over a castle and find that an innocent young woman is being held as a heretic. Thomas refuses to turn Genevieve over to the clerics to burn, so he is excommunicated from the church. Thomas’s own men turn against him for fear of the church. Genevieve and Thomas are alone and hunted by his violent cousin. Like all satisfying adventure stories, Heretic ends on a positive note with Thomas overcoming his many challenges.

Dori: Inca Gold by Clive Cussler, is a classic adventure story that begins with the disappearance of a 16th century Spanish galleon containing Inca treasure. Almost 500 years later, underwater diver Dirk Pitt rescues a team of archaeologists in Peru which leads to his entanglement in an international art smuggling ring that is intent on finding the lost treasure, no matter the cost.

What do you think? Are you going to try an adventure book with an exotic locale, a bigger-than-life hero, and some death-defying activities? Or would you rather wait and see what we read for our next genre, the gentle read? If you want to go looking for your own gentle read, you should look for a book that explores everyday life and friendship with the focus on a small group of people. Sounds pleasant, doesn’t it? We’ll find out…

— Stacey

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s