The Excalibur Codex, by James Douglas

Review published on November 2, 2013.Reviewed by jj redfearn

Enjoyable formulaic thriller in which girls meet sticky ends, nasty Nazis and their nasty descendants hide nasty secrets and secretive intelligence agencies keep on saving our unlikely art-expert expert-swordsman hero from bloodthirsty terrorists. He is, btw, an untrained amateur match for any special services agent on the planet. With a bit of ancient artifact hunting thrown in (you’ll never guess which one), a critical coded message ‘febluis’ that the world’s best codebreakers can’t crack and the most dimwitted Home Secretary anyone could wish for, it all makes for a splendid story.

The kick-off terrorist incident is far and away the most gripping incident in the E-Codex. It has a ring of possibility about it, combined with a degree of being something that it would be almost impossible to prevent, should someone try it. Nothing following lives up to that scene. More incidents do follow, but the action switches to the search for the mythical, or not mythical, artifact.

Heroically trundling around scenic bits of Europe and the USA (there’s no north American market for books like this if neither the hero nor the locations include the States) accompanied by a delectable PA and an ex-SBS minder terrorist attacks follow wherever Jamie leads. Is it coincidence, is Jamie a secret Scottish terrorist, is he being set-up? Did I mention scenic Scotland?

The twist in the end is that there are two twists in the end. One of them is clear from the outset, its just not certain which is the villain of the piece. The other seems to be an afterthought, crudely welded-on like armour on a T-34, seemingly added late in the day and definitely not woven into the plot to allow the book to finish in a marginally tidy fashion.

Great travel reading and eminently filmable!


Cato and Macro Are Back!


An extract from The Blood Crows, by Simon Scarrow

You may also like