It may make book snobs shudder but I read the Da Vinci Code and I enjoyed it. The description of this book placed it squarely in the same category, a conspiracy thriller, but stood out having been 20 years in the researching and stemming from the author's theological studies. Reading the notes at the end Gibson certainly has the background and credentials to write this sort of book.
Bob is a risk analyst whose successful career can be partly credited to his wealthy and influential father-in-law Matt. He is invited analyse risks relating to terrorism and his research soon starts to reveal some worrying truths. Working with a colleague, and old friend of Matt's, a plan is hatched that could end fundamentalist terrorist by tackling the causes at grass root level. The need for an end to murder and mayhem is underlined on Sept 11th 2012 when terrorists launch simultaneous attacks in the US, killing on an unseen scale and crippling cities. Bob realises there is a dark secret being protected when death and violence start to follow him around. He ends up on the run, travelling to Iraq to try and uncover the greatest conspiracy ever.
This book grabbed me at the start, beginning as it does with the attack on the New York subway. When I was then introduced to Bob and his family I was keen to find out how it was all going to fit together. The plot references the familiar grail legends and takes them that bit further, and provides some intriguing historical and religious information. The pacing was good, with the action interspersed with reflective moments. However the reason I didn't give the book a higher rating was that I never really connected with Bob. Despite everything he goes through I never really found myself empathising with him. Maybe it was because it felt a bit like he got everything he had on the back of Matt, and because he seems so judgmental of his sister-in-law who despite his distaste for her seems a strong and capable woman.
The book contains a number of images throughout, some of which were very helpful, others I could hardly read the labels on so weren't helpful and yet others which I found a bit unnecessary and distracting. Those who are interested in codes and ciphers might be more pleased by the inclusion of a crossword puzzle that provides important information. This is also a good book for people who like to find hidden codes and meanings, with deeper layers beyond the text itself.
The Dead See is a smart conspiracy thriller which clearly benefits from a huge amount of research and I particularly enjoyed the final part of the book. It is the sort of book I may well go back and re-read in future to see what I missed on the first read.
Format: Kindle, review copy
My Rating: 3*