Friday, December 19, 2014

The Mountain Place of Knowledge - Marshall Chamberlain

 Summary: The burial chamber of a revered Mayan sorceress is uncovered atop a sacrificial pyramid at the Caracol ruins in western Belize. Translation of ancient metallic scrolls and a 1100-year-old codex found in the chamber reveal the existence of a secret entrance to the inside of a mountain. The scrolls refer to the interior as Trinium, the Place of Knowledge, and explain its creation by an advanced civilization A flash of mysterious blue light brings death to a U.N. official, and investigators are sent to Belize to discover the source and locate the secret mountain entrance. What they discover inside is bizarre and unimaginable; mental prodding guides them to the Place of Seeing for the most shocking experience of their lives Leaks of the discoveries cause one nation to determine the mountain poses a threat to world order, and it will take great risks to neutralize the danger. The Mountain is a mesmerizing adventure, scientifically mysterious and metaphysically familiar. Breaking new ground at the speed of light, stalwart characters meet the unknown head on as Chamberlain weaves the first book of the Ancestor Series. (Summary and pic from goodreads.com)

I received a free copy of this in exchange for my honest review.

My Review: Readers of techno-thrillers are fully aware that sometimes you have to suspend technological judgment (or the lack thereof) for the enjoyment of reading. There is, of course, the assumption that the technology will be explained well enough that it’s somewhat believable. That maybe in a decade or so or maybe in some governmental laboratory the kind of technology exists and therefore it’s okay to suspend judgment. That was my first question about this book. The actual “mountain place of knowledge” is kind of a confusing place. Now, admittedly, I’m not really one for sci-fi, so different colored buttons in mountains and ethereal people that float around in a netherspace giving advice may be a little bit outside of my realm of belief, but I think that aside from that, I was actually a little confused.

The way the book started out, I thought it was going to give me a little more explanation to ease my, uh, unease, but that was not to be. To be fair, this is the first book in a series, so maybe that will come later? I don’t know. Sometimes books are confusing on purpose so that you can follow along with the characters who are also confused, but I’m not totally convinced that was the deal for this book. I think I was just a little bit confused. I can see that the author had a clear course mapped out for what was happening and what was supposed to be, and so I think what happened is that he had ideas that were well developed and fleshed out but he was so used to thinking about them and they had become so much a part of him that maybe they were not explained as well to those of us who were not the inventors of the idea.

This book took me a long time to read, despite the fact that it actually moves quite quickly. The chapters are short and lots of stuff is happening, so it’s not like it’s boring or anything. It’s just a long book. Also, there are lots of characters and because the book was long, sometimes it was hard to keep track of someone that I met a long time ago in the reading.

Overall, I thought the book had some pretty interesting ideas. I liked the idea that although the Mountain Place of Knowledge is kind of a far-fetched discovery, there were some very interesting things about it and the author involved a lot of scientists who were researching it so that alone allows for some explanation as the scientists discover different things.  There are a lot of things happening, too, so there is always the hope that in the next book, things really take off and get going after the basic descriptions and characters have been introduced.

My rating: 2.5 stars

For the sensitive reader: There is some language in this book, but I think it is milder than in others from this genre. 

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