The Altar of Bones by Philip Carter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“They didn’t have to kill him…He never drank from the altar of bones.”
Cryptic dying words from a murdered homeless woman in present day San Francisco unlock a decades-buried secret that changed history. Now a pair of ruthless assassins are sent to cut the few living "loose ends." And a young, resourceful woman on the run encounters a determined man with his own connected past and vengeful agenda. Forced to partner for survival and answers, a fast-paced and deadly game of cat and mouse ensues, taking them across the globe from the winding streets of Paris to the faded palaces of Budapest to the frozen lakes of Mongolia...where destiny, passion, and further betrayal await them.
The Altar of Bones has it all: The Russian mob. KGB spies. Presidential assasination. A doomed Hollywood legend. Deathbed confessions. Corrosive power. Shattered families. Guardians of an ancient religious icon housing a secret others will kill to possess. The dark promise of immortality. And it delivers on its ambitious premise to leave you stunned and breathless at the end.
My Take: This book is reminiscent of Dan Brown's earlier works. The story is engaging, the main characters are likeable and realistic-ish. The ending is satisfying.
Ry is in the field (government spy work) when his brother, Dom, calls to inform him that his father has died. Turns out, his dad was not the man they thought he was. He had a secret past that was riddled with blood. On his deathbed, the old man confesses to his son, Dom, in order to keep his sons safe. Not that he cared much or had a conscience. Not a very nice man. Anyhoo, the moment Mike O'Malley kicks the bucket, assassins come to murder Dom and Ry.
Zoe is an attorney working at keeping women in domestic abuse cases safe. She's working her good will when she discovers that her grandmother, who she thought died before she was born, was stabbed to death in San Francisco. She was posing as a homeless woman. Zoe runs to her mother's house where the reader discovers that her mother is the head of a Russian mafia. She's pretty cold blooded and no love is lost between the two. Zoe gets some of the truth out of Anna Larina, her mother. But Anna does not disclose anything regarding the altar of bones.
Eventually, Ry and Zoe wind up together. There are impossible traps, car chases, explosions, gun fights, knives, and some getting jiggy. Although I couldn't understand how Robert Langdon, a university professor, knew how to get out of sticky spots (Dan Brown protagonist), Zoe's history as a mafia daughter and Ry's military and government work explains much of their expertise with guns, driving crazy, and survival.
It's a solid, action-packed thriller. I quite enjoyed it.
So ~ I'm going to go ahead and post a giveaway under the hope that Gallery Publishing will sponsor two books to be granted to readers. Because I have great faith in these people. I do.
Ends March 26th