Character or Plot?
I've been outlining a chapter for a competition for Mills and Boon as you know. I wrote 3,000 words (and more) and then re-read them yesterday. Now I want to change the whole thing! It just didn't flow nor fit in with the 'style' of M&B. It's all in the approach. I'm a character driven writer myself and hadn't really got to know the hero (an alpha male no less) and the heroine. They were a little faceless and bland and passionless and that's how my words read. So I have spent an hour getting to know them a little, finding pictures that will set them in my mind and hopefully they will now start to tell the story. I've only got til Friday, so they better get their skates on... Eeks!
Most reviews of this book have recommended that you think 'Da Vinci Code' and that's a fair suggestion. However, if you think that there is no need to read this book if you've read Dan Brown, you will miss out on an excellent read.
The action starts off at an exhibition where historian/archeologist Tess Chaykin witnesses a particularly strange and violent robbery. Tess, a single mother, is the leading character throughout this book and you get to find out about her desires, her deepest driven desires which is linked to the ongoing questions about God and spirituality.
The other major character is FBI agent Sean Reilly who is in charge of the investigation and finds himself drawn to Tess. Reilly despite his job of dealing with facts is actually very sympathetic and a believer.
The story is told in two time lines, one following the robbery in which an ancient encoder is taken from a collection of Vatican artefacts. Tess hears the robber (dressed as a Templar and on horseback) whisper a latin saying which drives her to delve into the possible hidden meanings. The second is way back in the thirteenth century following the final days of the last templars and their quest to pass on and protect their message and very essence of 'being'.
The evil rogue part is also two fold, one a fellow professor Tess had once fancied and is now obsessed with outing the truth about 'God' and of course the upstanding member of the religous bretheren who will do anything to prevent 'the secret' from being uncovered.
Its a fast read, short chapters and the pace is easy to follow. Its also a kind of history lesson, as Tess shares her vast knowledge about the history of the time and the Templars. As you can probably guess, Tess isn't the religous type, but Reilly is... this is the cause of some tension as the story unfolds and we discover what the Templars were trying to protect. But is it too late for all of that? And what would be the consequences for the world as we know it now, centuries on, after years of brainwash and chinese whispers. The fallout would be horrendous - wouldn't it?
A great read, and one I'd read again because of its richness in character, history and debate.