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Review: The Alexandria Connection – Adrian d’Hagé

on October 22, 2014

Alexandria ConnectionThe Alexandria Connection
Adrian d’Hagé
Penguin Books AUS
2014, 469p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

CIA agent Curtis O’Connor and his girlfriend/partner archaeologist Aleta Weizman are on a holiday of sorts in Alexandria, Egypt. Although O’Connor is on leave from the CIA, the two are not entirely there to relax – instead Aleta has plans to dive some of the ruins under the ocean in the Alexandria harbour. There have always been rumours of a lost papyrus that would reveal the true purposes of the pyramids of Giza, as well as another one that could turn the entire religion of Christianity on its head.

Elsewhere, a man nicknamed Pharos heads up a group of powerful people. The membership of the group is a well-guarded secret and each person invited in has a very specific attribute. All of these people are putting in a careful plan to create chaos in world financial markets via a string of well organised and funded terrorist attacks that will not only drive up the price of oil and create public hysteria but they will also result in loss of life and nuclear meltdown. Although the CIA have managed to intercept enough communication to know that something is planned, they don’t know where or when. Only Curtis O’Connor might be able to track down Pharos and prevent him from taking control of the entire world.

I think this is the third book that features O’Connor and Weizman but it’s the first that I’ve read. On some levels, you don’t really need to read the previous two as each is a separate story but it would probably help because I didn’t realise they were a couple until they started getting it on. I thought they just worked together and maybe there was potential for one of those ‘will they or won’t they?’ scenarios. Clearly that’s been and gone and they’re a couple of sorts here. I’m not entirely sure how serious it is – O’Connor has apparently well known prowess in the bedroom and Weizman is all about finding antiquities. She’s not the sort to sit at home and wait for O’Connor to get home from his latest assignment of being awesome.

There’s a lot going on here and it’s to d’Hagé’s credit that he manages to tie it all together relatively easily. In one part of the world you have O’Connor and Weizman having a ‘holiday’ of sorts (that keeps getting interrupted when O’Connor keeps getting recalled to active duty because of what the other people the in the novel are up to) diving searching the lost ruins of Egypt for evidence of the two rumoured papyrus. You have Taliban and al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan planning terrorist attacks on the west, increasing on the severity scale with each one. You have one of the world’s richest men heading up a private group hell-bent on basically taking control of the world via influence over the financial markets, the control and supply of fossil fuels, print media coverage and the terrorist acts they’re paying others to carry out for them. d’Hagé also manages to work in domestic political issues such as the carbon tax on a grander scale, presenting it as a critical issue for an upcoming American presidential election. Given I read this book directly after finishing Julia Gillard’s memoir, I found that a very interesting and relevant inclusion!

I really enjoyed the parts of the story that revolved around Egypt and the antiquities as well as the quest to discover what the pyramids were for – all of that is really fascinating. However I do have to admit that the parts of the story connected to terrorism were less interesting to me. I tired of reading about the terrorists talking about the ‘infidels’ and I’m not entirely sure if I should be concerned about the ease of which some of these were planned and carried out or not. There’s a lot of panic now about the perceived level of threat Australia faces from terrorism and I tend to really try to shy away from the hysteria. Although I don’t know of anyone who fills the role of Pharos in reality, there probably are several people who are that wealthy and would pay obscene amounts to have yet more power. It’s a rather unpalatable thought and I did have trouble connecting to any of the characters within the book. O’Connor is a typical CIA/FBI/Navy SEAL/etc action hero and Weizman is basically a walking, talking archaeological and historical encyclopedia. She shows little other personality other than a knowledge and love of history in this book and again, that may be because I haven’t read the previous books featuring her. There is quite a lot of background between her and the CIA which would probably be interesting to catch up on, given it’s summarised in a paragraph or two here. The man behind Pharos is supposed to be loathsome and is, although I feel as though he was too one dimensional, like he could’ve been given something interesting as motivation rather than just money and power. I know they’re both things that easily corrupt but it made him boring.

I think this book is clever and intricate and I enjoyed parts of it a lot and admired the way other parts of it managed to blend together to create a seamless story. I am tempted however to go back and read the books with O’Connor and Weizman on the Maya Codex and the Incan Prophecy, I’ve read books concerning that sort of thing before and I’ve always enjoyed them.

7/10

Book #216 of 2014

Aussie-Author-Challenge-2014-final-badge

The Alexandria Connection counts towards my participation in the Aussie Author Challenge 2014. It’s book #16

 

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One response to “Review: The Alexandria Connection – Adrian d’Hagé

  1. Deborah says:

    I used to quite enjoy that spy / thriller / espionage genre – this sounds quite interesting!

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