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The Covenant of Genesis- Andy McDermott

The Covenant of Genesis’ first hint at its content is its wonderfully colourful cover. 4th in the series following Dr Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase in their archaeological endeavours across the world, pulling you deeper than you thought possible, into both archaeological theory and fact along the way. You don’t necessarily have to have read the first three novels in the series, as The Covenant of Genesis is a brilliant read in its own right. But in order to fully appreciate the complexity and depth of the character development, I strongly recommend you read the series in chronological order.

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Overall it is a consistent, well written piece of work. It is also extremely well paced throughout. The action sets your heart rate up to thump through the adrenalin fuelled chapters, but McDermott also allows the reader to rest, digest and keep up with the turn of events at regular enough intervals; so that the gunfire may have ceased but you’ve got more than enough motivation to keep reading as the plot thickens, evolving at every turn of a page. The novel is action packed to the brim, but appears to be consistently well researched. In particular it is littered with punchy witticisms, adding both to the events in the plot as well as the reader’s understanding of the characters. Despite the pace, there was the odd occasion when I wished I could skip forward to the answer. The little details in between enhance the bigger picture, but the downfall of good writing is sometimes you just can’t wait.

McDermott offers his readers some truly brilliant scenes, but he also creates fantastic plot twists that are both incredulous but entirely believable at the same time- always keeping the reader fully immersed and engaged in the story.

For the severely squeamish reader beware of descriptive paragraphs throughout those chapters, which detail blood and the deaths of various Covenant members amongst others. I found myself physically flinching at the breaking of bones. But this level of detail is a testament and credit to McDermott, as he shows that gore and death can accentuate a novel. In the chapters of The Covenant of Genesis, the reader is confronted with multiple deaths throughout, and the imaginative mishaps are not used sparingly. That being said it does read as excessive, death orientated or overly aggressive, and therefore it does not detract from the character’s mission or the overall plot.

The initial concept for this novel is in fact very simple, and is one that I’m sure many other author’s has used, adopted and adapted. But this level of adaptation from this concept is sincerely new to me as a reader. The clearly researched but also imaginative descriptions of each location from Antarctica to Sudan are eloquent, consistent and believable- you can see the landscape in your mind as the events unfold.

The ending may be far from what a sympathetic reader might want. But none the less it left me wondering what would come next for Nina and Eddie, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next installment in The Cult of Osiris.

© Gemma Feltham April 7 2013

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April 7, 2013 · 3:58 pm

Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte

So having studied Nineteenth Century Literature at University, the world of classics has been recently opened to me. Wuthering Heights is a title I did not study, but chosen because it is considered a classic.

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My initial reaction was of pleasant surprise. Although I had no preconceptions of the book, I was not expecting what I was offered in the first few chapters. A striking feature is how easy a read it is. The prose is particularly flowing even when describing the moors- which I had very little interest in, and I sometimes wished the narrator Mrs Dean/ Mr Lockwood would move on from the scenery of Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. 

I do not doubt a scenery such as the moors works brilliantly, any less dramatic a choice and the novel may not have reached the longevity that it has acquired. However I doubt that, in my reading the setting of the two homes in the moors was well wrapped in the novel; but more could have been done to maximise the potential those moors held. As it is the moors remained a stagnant thing if beauty, depicted, described, drawn out for effect- but never quite utilised.

Unfortunately I fell quickly into the category of readers who had a strong dislike for poor Cathy. As a leading lady Cathy’s entire allure is held in her ability to attract all varieties and variations of tragedy, abuse and ill temper. Beyond this, I found her every word irritating, her actions showing more of her character than her conversation. Her flights of self-supposed fancy were too flighty for my liking. 

In contradiction both Heathcliffe and Hareton were filled with all the character depths, misconceptions and opportunities to redeem themselves to the reader- all things I found distinctly lacking in any of the novel’s Catherines. Mrs Dean I found to be a pleasant choice in narrator, and it was pleasant to see Ms Bronte return to both her narrators periodically as befitting. 

The ending of the novel remains something of mystery to me. It was conclusive, yet left me feeling empty. I suppose it was meant to be happy- Catherine Linton finally able to be happy and regain what was taken from her. But it was a cold, soulless ending. Almost as if Emily Bronte disliked her own characters.

In summary, Wuthering Heights will always be a classic, and is well written beyond doubt- to an extent. However it is no Pride and Prejudice or Mansfield Park- then again it was never going to be.

© Gemma Feltham January 9 2013

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January 9, 2013 · 7:15 pm