Review – “Book of Souls” by Glenn Cooper

Review – “Book of Souls” by Glenn Cooper

I know that summer is almost over, but I have a great summer book to recommend.  “Book of Souls” is the sequel to “Secret of the Seventh Son” (which I read last year, and highly recommend). If you are a fan of Dan Brown, James Rollins, and the like – you are in the right place with “Book of Souls”. If you are going to be stuck on a cross-country flight this week, you can easily sing your teeth in to “Book of Souls” and dispatch the time with ease. If you are going to be stuck at a family reunion over the weekend, this book is a perfect balm for hearing about Aunt Matilda’s corn surgery for the 3rd time. If you are just sitting at home, feet up, television off, kids in bed, glass of wine on the coffee table next to you – this is a good book to have in your hands.

As I said, this is the sequel to “Secret of the Seventh Son”. If you haven’t read that book, you may still enjoy “Book of Souls”, but you are going to miss a LOT of what is going on. So, go out, get “Secret of the Seventh Son” and give it a read. Don’t worry – I’ll wait…I’ll be right here. Take your time.

Okay – all caught up? This story starts about a year after the close of “Seventh Son”. After solving the Doomsday Killer case, Will Piper is now married to his former partner Nancy. Will has retired from the FBI, has a newborn son, and is trying to learn to be a good husband. That tranquility, however, is not meant to last. He receives a visit from two men who are part of the “2027 Club”. They know that secrets that Will discover during the Doomsday case and they need his help in acquiring a rare book that has just come available at auction. That book is the key that will unravel Will’s carefully built domestic life. Because of it, he is plunged headlong back in the conspiracy and adventure that he thought he had left behind.

Cooper does a good job of weaving the narrative between the present day and 16th century Europe, where we learn more about the mysterious Library and how it has influenced history. You see how it touched the lives of many from that time, including Calvin, Nostradamus, and even Shakespeare. This weaving of historical fiction and modern day thriller brings the rich back-story to life while adding an authenticity to the tale that will be familiar to fans of religious thriller genre.

My one and only complaint with the story has to do with the main character Will. Fair warning for all – THIS PARAGRAPH CONTAINS SPOILERS. If you don’t want to know details on the story, skip ahead – okay? Commencing with spoilers in 3…2…1… In the middle of the book, Will travels to England to search from clues needed to solve the book’s central mystery. Will has been, in the past, a heavy drinker and lady’s man. While in England, he not only falls back in to drinking, he also has a brief affair with the woman helping him with his search. When the search is over, he goes back to America, and his wife. He does express some remorse, but he never discusses it with his wife (he does come clean on the drinking). In fact, the affair is not really addressed at all for the rest of the book. In reading some on Glenn Cooper, he’s said that his heroes are all flawed. I can accept that, if the flaw in some way contributes to the story. Here, it just felt – well, it felt gratuitous. It didn’t help the story in my mind, and it didn’t make Will more authentic. It just made him a little more unlikable. It didn’t ruin the book for me, it just felt unnecessary. Okay – SPOILERS ARE OVER.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s an interesting take on the religious thriller genre, and raises some great questions about the nature of choice versus predestination in the world. Cooper leaves the end of the story wide open for another sequel and I hope he takes the opportunity to deliver one. I could see that book going quite a few different directions and would be anxious to see what Cooper would do next in the world that he has created.

© 2010, The Word Zombie. All rights reserved.

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