The Smiting Texts
By Roy Lester Pond
Published by Austin Macauley
PB, £9.99, 372pp
Conspiracy thrillers have become a popular genre in recent years, promising earth-shattering revelations of hidden histories. This novel focuses on the realms of Egyptology, and manages to successfully expound on a range of themes within contemporary and fringe Egyptology, though in some instances in a shallow or slightly twisted manner. However the author must be given artistic licence to make a good plot, and so the small discrepancies can be forgiven as part of a greater picture. The plot has some interesting twists and turns, dropping in a surprising twist just when you thought it had become predictable. This is a relief, as in places the pace becomes very slow, and then suddenly it races along. However this in itself could be seen as a good analogy to the process of discovery during the archaeological process.
The other criticism that might be levelled at this book is the two-dimensional nature of many of the secondary characters. However in many respects the sacred sites of Egypt are the secondary characters of the book, and the author does not stint in describing these and bringing them to life. If the same passion had been applied to the people as the places it would have made the book even more enjoyable. All in all a good read, especially for anyone who enjoys conspiracy thrillers or has an interest in Egypt.