The Revelation Code | Andy McDermott | 2015, Pb 2016 | Headline | 496p | Review copy | Buy the book
There are few things in the booky world more guaranteed to put a smile on my face than a brand new Nina and Eddie thriller from Andy McDermott! I adore this series and I have done ever since I read the first, The Hunt for Atlantis, way back when. Ever since, I have latched on to each of these books as they emerge like a leech. They never disappoint but they certainly do thrill, stagger, shock and entertain by the barrel. There is no end to the mischief that husband and wife team Eddie Chase and Nina Wilde can get in to; no archaeological mystery is safe; and if X marks the spot you can bet that that’s where you’ll also find Nina and Eddie, no doubt looking a bit battered. The Revelation Code is the eleventh full-length novel in the series and it came as no surprise at all that it is every bit as excellent as Kingdom of Darkness that preceded it, and all the ones that came before that.
All of these books can be read in any order you like – the mysteries are self-contained – but throughout the series runs the story of Nina and Eddie. Knowing the background, while not essential, definitely makes these books even more addictive. By this stage we are hopelessly invested in Nina and Eddie’s relationship, particularly now that things are becoming even more complicated. This review assumes that you are not meeting Nina and Eddie for the first time.
Several years ago, CIA military agents on a secret mission in Iraq uncovered the remains of an ancient temple in the desert. Hidden deep within it was a small winged statue – an angel. It was almost destroyed and from it emerged the forces of death. One man who held the angel in his hands and survived had no doubt at all. The statue was one of the four angels of the apocalypse mentioned in the Bible’s Book of Revelations. The power that one can unleash is staggering and awful, but the four combined could destroy humanity. Elders in biblical times hid the angels around the ancient world, for their protection and for that of the Earth. But now there is a man who will make it his life’s work to unite all four angels and unleash hell. In the present day, the man has become the Prophet, surrounded by many devoted followers. He is now in a position in which he can hunt out the remaining statues. But, although he has the resources, he doesn’t have the knowledge. He knows where to get it, though. Nina Wilde, the world’s most famous archaeologist, will do everything he tells her to, especially if Eddie’s life depends on it.
And what follows is an utterly thrilling rollercoaster of a hunt and chase across Europe and the Middle East. Nina and Eddie are completely driven, not just to find the angels but also to stop whatever plan the Prophet has in mind. The stakes are high – not just the future of the world, but, more to the point, the future of their own little family. Nina is pregnant and there is no power on heaven or earth that Eddie will allow to endanger his wife and offspring. It’s fair to say that Eddie is dedicated. And so is Nina. She might have hormone issues but she knows where to channel them when the need arises. It is true that she was getting a little tetchy and bored just putting her feet up.
The adventure is an exhilarating ride. The pages race through the fingers as we travel around the world, visiting some archaeological sites and museums that never quite know what hit them. Andy McDermott is great at presenting car/boat/plane chases and we get a host of them here. The extreme action is matched by the humour. Few people can pun like Eddie can pun, and few people could put up with it as well as Nina can. But alongside the humour there is also darkness and I love this side to the Nina and Eddie series. People we’re attached to can die, there are no guarantees that everything will work out, and Nina and Eddie are not invincible. You can count on a few tears being shed in one of these novels and The Revelation Code is no exception.
Nina and Eddie aren’t the only people to keep our attention in The Revelation Code. The baddie is suitably appalling but his followers are an interesting bunch, combining the evil and the innocent. There are also people we’ve met before, including, most entertainingly, Professor Maureen Rothschild, an archaeologist who disagrees entirely with Nina’s way of excavating (ie, with explosives instead of trowels and brushes).
This is such a strong series and I can never get enough of it. The Revelation Code is a fine addition to it, combining a great plot and mystery with a new phase in Eddie and Nina’s relationship. I cannot wait to see what happens next. Nothing will be the same again.