In Book of Souls, Will Piper, newly married and retired, is once again pulled into the mystery surrounding the ancient library he discovered a year ago. This time two former Area 51 workers, representing the 2027 Club, contact him regarding one of the books. The one from 1527 has landed in an auction and they want help recovering it. At first Piper's a little reluctant, but then agrees to help them. They soon garner the attention of the watchers (government agents) who want to keep the book's contents and its existence a secret from the world. Things get even complicated for Will when a beautiful young woman enters the picture and a secret document is found hidden in the book. He's going to have to do a lot of work if he hopes to solve the mystery "that will affect the fate of all humanity."
After reading Cooper's first book, Library of the Dead, I anxiously awaited the publication of this book. Now that I've read it, I can tell you I was not disappointed; I devoured it in a matter of hours.
This book recaps some of the information discovered in the first book, but still contains plenty of mystery and intrigue as well as a whole new set of surprises. Like the first book, the story jumps around to three different time periods. This time it's the 14th century, 16th century and present day. Cooper masterfully constructs the story so that it's very easy to follow and fun to read.
I loved how the author created a scenario in which one ancient book affected the lives of three influential figures: Shakespeare, John Calvin and Nostradamus. It's was ingenious how Cooper imagined these three would have come across the book and how it shaped their lives.
My one small complaint is that this book seemed to lack a little of the punch the first one had. The revelations from the first book were so stunning, it would be hard to top them. That's not to say this book isn't exciting. It's just that if I had to pick a favourite it would be the first one where the idea of the library and its implications were ground-breaking.
Cooper is slowly convincing me that this library of the dead exists. That's because the characters in this book are waiting the "Caracas event", which isn't all that far from Haiti. With what happened there (January 2010) and the number of dead, it's not hard to see that perhaps Cooper is onto something. Pretty spooky. ;)
I'm pretty sure this book can be enjoyed as a standalone book. However, if you haven't read either of the books, I'd suggest starting with the first one. If for no other reason than it makes sense to start at the beginning of the story.
New Words Alert:
licentiousness (page 251) - depravity
primogeniture (page 259) - first-born's right of inheritance
enigmatic (page 277) - mysterious
lassitude (page 284) - exhaustion
truculent (page 322) - hostile
Highly recommended. I can't wait to read more books by this author.
For more information about this book, please visit the HarperCollins Canada website.
For more information about the author and other interesting stuff, please visit Glenn Cooper's website.
I'd like to thank those nice people at Edwards Magazine Bookclub and HarperCollins Canada for this review copy.
This review is also available on Edwards Magazine Book Club website.
Book of Souls by Glenn Cooper, HarperCollins, ©2010. ISBN 9781554683116(Trade Paperback), 426p.