|Walt Becker: Link|
William Morrow & Co. (Hardcover), ISBN 0688158226
Somewhere in Central Africa, in a tiny cave, paleoanthropologist Samantha Colby makes the scientific discovery to end all scientific discoveries. Could she have found the Missing Link that archeologists have sought for decades?
Samantha thinks so, and the discovery is so controversial there's only one man who can deal with it -- maverick scientist Jack Austin. There's a problem with bringing in Jack though -- not only is he a pariah in the scientific community, but he and Samantha are former lovers.
Their past notwithstanding, Jack flies to Africa and the fun begins. Accompanied by Samantha's current fiancÚ, former arms dealer Benjamin Dorn, the scientists follow clues that sweep them from Africa to the other side of the world. Chased by rampaging African tribesmen, Bolivian drug traffickers and even the CIA, Samantha and Jack race against the clock to find all the pieces of the puzzle to their Missing Link.
Unfortunately, the synopsis reads much better than the book. Becker overloads the reader with more archeological and historical information than a person needs or even wants to know. Pages and pages of history lessons thinly disguised as dialog bog down the action.
Even in the middle of what should be a spine-tingling chase across the veldt, Becker still manages to bring the pace almost a halt by telling us all about the tribe that's chasing the team. Indy would never lecture in the middle of a perilous escape, but Jack does.
Becker's bio states he's a director and screenwriter as well as author. Perhaps if he had remembered the rules of making a great film or television episode when he wrote Link, Jack wouldn't be so boring. Sorry Jack, but I'll wait for the next Indy.
What an incredible read! I find history most enjoyable when it is skillfully woven into an intriguing story line. I have heard some say that there are too many characters and/or too much history. Neither is true. I never had to page back to figure out who a character was. And the history was the most interesting part - that he used historical facts as the cushion for his story/hypothesis only fueled the intrigue. This fascinating tale forces you to wonder about the past. Side note: It's a page-turner not easily put down. I was surprised to find this was Becker's first novel; it's so well written. I was disappointed to find he has not yet written another!
Although the story was great, I cared nothing for the actual plot. I give this book five out of five stars for the incredible scientific research in it. The information in the book might sound entirely false, but the scary thing was, it was all true. Anyways, this was a great first book for Walt Becker, who I think is a fine view of an up-and-coming author.
the reviewer must like Harlequin romance novels. The scientific parts
of the book were the only thing that made it interesting -- all the more
so because everything except for the actual discovery is 100 percent fact.
The story itself is very Michael Crichton, a potboiler with ex-lovers,
a power mad villain, clueless government agents. But by bringing all the
scientific facts into novel form, Becker has made some amazing mysteries
readable to the general public. Why I haven't seen something about this
stuff on the Discovery Channel is another mystery. Looking at the factual
material in the book suggests we are at the brink of some huge, world-view
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