Friday, December 6, 2013

The Hidden Chamber in the Great Sphinx - Linda A. Cadose

Summary:  American archeologist Dr. Cliff Post and his friend Egyptian archeologist Dr. Abdul Saad discover a hidden chamber in the right paw of the Great Sphinx. Inside they find an ancient supercomputer left there thousands of years ago by ancient aliens. A terrorist group seeks to obtain possession of this supercomputer. The Hidden Chamber in the Great Sphinx is the first in a series featuring the adventures of American archeologist, Dr. Cliff Post. Be sure to read the second in the series, The Underwater Pyramid in the Bermuda Triangle. (Book cover and summary from goodreads.com.  I was provided a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.)

My review:  Dr. Cliff Post, an archaeologist specializing in Egyptology, finds himself bored with his on-campus life and staring down a lengthy sabbatical when his good friend Dr. Khalid Saad from Cairo calls with an offer too good to be true.  A chamber under the right paw of the Great Sphinx has been discovered - and he wants to excavate.  Cliff races to Egypt to join the expedition, unaware of what conspiracies he's stumbled into. 

This book is "based in fact", and as a closet Egypt geek, I was excited to sink my teeth into it.  It's a short book, scarcely over 100 pages, so I was expecting the story to move at a fairly fast clip.  There is, in fact, an infrastructure under the Great Sphinx, with a chamber under the paw as in the book.  Cadose also includes quite a few historical references - a quick rundown of the Egyptian gods and goddesses, basic Egyptian history, etc.  That's about where the facts end.  Cadose's main character is a big proponent of aliens building the pyramids, and it's accepted as fact in the book.   It could have served the story much better, but it was odd to find in a book so touted as "based in fact".

As far as the story goes, the bones are good.  There aren't quite enough of them - but what is there is good.  However, the writing really got to me.  I don't know if this is geared at children, instead of at the YA/Adult category to which I was expecting, but it was so choppy, quite underdeveloped, there was very little flow, and quite a few typos.  I can understand some.  But referring to the demotic texts as demonic texts?  I lost it.  I also had a difficult time with the presentation of both American and Egyptian characters.  I felt like they all played dangerously into the stereotypes, Americans being condescending and patronizing, and the Egyptian characters bordering on obsequious.  That knocked my rating down a bit, too.

I think that this definitely could have benefitted from a different editor, or a few more drafts.  And it's sad, because really, the bones of the story really are quite good!  There's so much that could be fleshed out - it just needed more work.

My Rating:  One and a half stars.  I just couldn't get past the writing. 

For the Sensitive Reader:  Squeaky, squeaky clean.  Except for the aliens.

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