What is the bizarre umbilical cord that links the 200-year old theft of the Parthenon Marbles to the Turkish Governor of Athens, Jack the Ripper, Winston Churchill, the Titanic, Napoleon Bonaparte, the British Royal family, an obscure nineteenth century Italian artist, and a Koala bear? That’s right--a Koala bear! What skeletons are entombed in Pandora’s Box? The British government assembles a team to resolve the mystery and return the artefacts to Greece within a six-month deadline. Success must be achieved against an intensifying background of treason, competition from an American billionaire collector, and the intervention of the Greek mafia. Failure would threaten the very fabric of British society.
I was utterly drawn in by this book. By inter-weaving different stories from different time periods there is always something new the reader learns while still being kept utterly in the dark about where the Marbles are. There are so many, but not too many, story twists, keeping the reader endlessly on the edge. This is crucial in a story which focuses on a search for some age old rocks. By shaping it into a detective/crime novel it still remains all the more interesting to those who might not get all the inter-cultural links.
Natalie Sinclair is a great main character who is dragged into this mystery, completely unknowing. What I really appreciated about Jackson's writing is that he did not force a relationship between her and David King, an agent sent along to find the Marbles. It might be hinted at, but it is not as important as it is in many other novels. First and foremost is the mission and it is great to see both a strong male and female character in the same book without both of them having to save each other constantly. Very refreshing and oh so interesting. John Walker is another amazing character, slightly sarcastic but always there.
The array of historical characters that pas by is interesting even for those who don't know a lot about history. It might seem from the description above that you need to be knowledgeable about all of these events and people but don't worry: you don't have to. The story is just as gripping if you are new to European history. There is also some great humor in this book. It is of the sarcastic, hilarious kind. Especially the koala mentioned in the description had me hysterically laughing, which was embarrassing considering I was on a bus, alone.
I give this book...
It is an amazing book that is bound to keep its reader on the edge of his seat the entire time. I could not put it down and there are always twists and turns in the story.