I have wanted to read a book by Nelson DeMille for a long time now. I occasionally see his books are I peruse the shelfs at my favorite bookstore. When I was approved a review copy by Netgalley I did a happy dance like none other. Sadly, that happy dance turned into my ripping my hair out and screaming ARGH! to the top of my lungs.
Let's begin with an overview of The Quest. An old priest who's been incarcerated in an Ethiopian prison for 40 years is minutes from his death by gaurd when the walls of his cell explode and he is free but wounded. Frank Purcell, Henry Mercado, and Vivian find this old man in the jungle and try to assist him. He insists he's dying so he tells them a tale like no other. He's seen the Holy Grail. Purcell and Mercado being the journalist they are try to get as much information from him as possible before he dies. His story begins their journey to finding the Holy Grail.
Nelson DeMille is definitely a good writer. Although I have some gripes with this novel, I really could not put it down. Of course it's natural to want to see their journey to the end, but I was completely drawn in by the writing style and the well researched historic details provided. Although this novel was written in the 70s, it isn't dated. Sure there's no cell phones but c'mon... it's only attached to our hips. Why not take a minute to enjoy a novel that doesn't have to deal with those pesky things. Overall, an interesting plot and odd setting makes for a great adventure...kinda. Walking around lost in a jungle for five days is not that interesting.
My biggest gripe with this novel is that it's based in war-torn Ethiopia yet there doesn't seem to be an imminent threat of danger. Sure you're probably thinking the danger is assumed since it's all around them but I say no! This is supposed to be a historical thriller of sorts. The blurbs suggested that they were being hunted specifically by Coptic Monks, "shadowy assassins", and crazed madmen. I never felt they were in danger. They barely ran anywhere this whole novel. If there's no running there's no danger.
My final gripe with this novel is our main characters journalists Mercado and Purcell, and their beautiful photgrapher Vivian. These three have to be the most insanely ambitious people ever to go off of the word of a priest they know nothing about in hopes of finding something no one before them ever has. Not to mention the danger they face in doing so. They enlist the help of a soldier Gann who's just as whacked as they are. Plus, the love triangle between Mercado, Purcell, and Vivian becomes frustrating and so unnecessary.
Contrary to what my review may suggest I'm not giving up on Nelson DeMille. I'm sure one day I will find the perfect DeMille novel for me. The Quest wasn't that novel. I hope his die-hard fans don't stone me for this review since it is to them I recommend this title. Although I didn't love this novel I am still on a quest to find MY perfect Nelson DeMille novel. ***