Currently, I'm at 40% in and I can see why Robert Marsello is a great author. The novel is descriptive with well developed characters so far. Even the bad guys are dimensional and interesting. What I've learned so far is that Dr. Frank Slater is currently in Alaska because the permafrost is melting and there's a serious health risk to the natives of Inuit if this problem continues. At one point in history there was a devastating flu that pretty much wiped out a whole slew of people and the discovery of a coffin from the early 1900s has placed the Inuit island at risk again.
Harley is the lucky fellow who discovers a cross in the coffin and instantly thinks this is his meal ticket. This guy is your quinessential bad guy who is greedy but doesn't actually know what the ramifications of his actions are. He's definitely not the brightest crayon in the box but I've found that when money signs are blinding one's vision, that tends to be the case. In order to add to the suspense of the title, he and his crew go back to rob more graves if they can find them. The only problem they anticipate having is with Dr. Slater's group and possible natives... or wolves. Yes Wolves!
What's also nice about The Romanov Cross by Robert Masello, is it's smooth transitions between the Romanov empire and their history. Many Russian history enthusiasts know that their reign did not end well. Although there is a lot of fictional licensing Masello is taking advantage of, I do not feel that it is in any way implausible and is quite fun to rewrite history. These alternate histories are why we love fiction. The what ifs and maybes are why people like me love historical fiction with a hefty dash of suspense.
Although there isn't much suspense yet, I definitely know it will be coming. The two groups are going to come barreling into each other seeing as though at the point I am in the book, they have both arrived to the island. This element of mystery is my motivation in reading faster. The comparisons to Steve Berry make complete sense to me now. As I have mentioned before I am one of his biggest fans and only have four books to go before I can shout to the mountaintop that I have read all his novels. Yay for me! The only huge glaring difference I see is in the amount of depth Masello has chosen to go into with his bad guys. Of course they are carbon copies of most thriller novels in the sense that they are motivated by greed, but they are also well described. I look forward to reading the rest of this novel. Dare I say mid-novel that I am a fan?