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Friday, December 28, 2012

Excavation by James Rollins

While on an expedition to Peru, archaeologist Dr. Henry Conklin makes several startling discoveries. High amid the snow-capped Andes a mysterious mummy is found hidden in a cave. And deep in the sweltering jungle below, the remains of an ancient Incan city hidden from human eyes for centuries is unearthed.

Nestled between two soaring peaks, this mysterious ancient territory called the Cloud Ruins has remained undisturbed for centuries, protected by ingenious traps that only the most clever and courageous dare to maneuver. But where the perilous journey inward ends--in the cold, shrouded heart of a breathtaking necropolis--something else is waiting for Conklin, his nephew, Sam, and their exploratory party. A thing created by Man, yet not human. Something powerful . . . something astonishing . . . something terrifying. And now their amazing adventure of discovery has been transformed into the ultimate challenge: survival.

Don't miss this classic James Rollins novel, set deep in the mysterious jungles of South America.
Summary & Photo taken from
Length: 626 pages (Large print paperback)
Publication Date:  July 3rd 2000
I'm a bit late to the whole James Rollins party it seems but it's better to be late than never! Before I borrowed Excavation from the library I had been wanting to give his books a try for ages but I didn't know where to start. Then I found this one when I did a library search and it looked like a good place to start.
As you probably already know I am a huge history buff so the fact that this book dealt with the history and myths surround the Incan people I was all for it. Especially since this book was coveted by fans of one of my favourite authors Clive Cussler.
The book started off with a bang. We're taken 500 years into the past while a young Dominican priest is on the run from a gang of Incan warriors through the jungle as he tries to escape from them and leave a message for people in the future before he dies. Then we're fast forwarded to the present when an archaeological dig is taking place in the area where the Dominican Priest was found but this is no normal archaeological dig and the jungles of Peru hold more secrets than you or I can imagine.
I loved the setting of this book. I haven't read a lot of books set in South America but when it comes to this genre its one of my favourite locations. There's so much mystery, history and danger associated with that part of the world it makes it a perfect locale for this type of book and James Rollin's created an great story that took place in Peru.
Right away I was hooked on the story line I love how the book opened in the past and then fast forwarded to present day. I was thinking that maybe the book would be told in two different times one in the past and one in the present day so I was really pleased to see that 99% of the book was written in the present day.
I thought that while the characters of Henry, his nephew Sam, Maggie, Denal and Norman were good characters on the surface they lacked a lot of depth. I for one wish that I could have gotten to know them on a deeper level because they were the main characters so I felt the that the story could have used a bit more of the personal touch in that aspect. I also wish that the bad guys in the novel had a little more depth to them as well because they seemed like they were really transparent.
The plot was a good one, albeit one that I have seen various derivations of in the past when it comes to this novel but the whole idea of the book being about a lost tribe of immortal Incans was interesting. I wish there was more detail involved in the creation of the tribe and when the tribe was talked about as well as the creatures that inhabited the areas around the tribe. I liked that part of the book a lot but I think it could have used more detail.
While the book had a lot of adrenaline rushing moments the spaces in between got rather slow at times and I couldn't wait for things to get going again. There were parts of the book that I think the story could have been left out because they didn't really add anything of substance to the novel.
The book did have it's fair share of high and low points like any novel does and perhaps I'm just being picky because this is the first book I've read by the author and I'm just getting used to  his writing style but overall in terms of the plot and characters I felt that the novel lacked a lot of critical detail and things were rushed over and sometimes the book felt more like an abridged version of a novel rather than the full length novel. Plus there were a couple of plot holes that I cannot for the life of me figure out where as well as having some unnecessary plot fillers in the book that slowed down the pace of the novel.
The writing was the one main thing I liked. While the story lacked detail I could tell that the author did a fair amount of research to give the book an authentic Peruvian setting and the book was able to keep me reading late into the night despite my issues. I think that maybe the author needed to balance out the characters as well as the storyline with more. The bones of a great novel was there but for me as much as I did enjoy this one I think it held a lot more promise than was achieved.
I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to read an adrenaline filled novel that loves history, cults and lost civilizations this book might just be your next great read. While this book didn't turn out the way I wanted it to I still enjoyed it and I'm glad this was the first book I've read by the author. I hope I like his other books as well and I can't wait for my holds of Amazonia and Subterranean to come in at the library so I can read more of his writing soon! Hopefully I have better luck with them.
Liked it!
★ ★ ★

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  2. Ooo i love a thriller, adventure. Thanks for sharing this one!

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  10. Excavation by James Rollins captivates with its thrilling narrative, blending history and adventure seamlessly. An exhilarating read that keeps you on the edge! Southern Trax Excavation


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