Book Review: Riptide by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

By Unknown - Saturday, January 14, 2012

Last year I was so engrossed in the Pendergast series of books written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child and it’s still going on but I’ve already caught up with the latest books and I have to wait until the next one is published. Riptide is a book written by the same tandem of authors but it doesn’t have Pendergast in it. It’s a complete stand-alone and would delight readers who are into good pirate lore mixed in with crime and mystery.

Blurb on the back:

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For generations, treasure hunters have tried to unlock the deadly puzzle known as the Water Pit: a labyrinth of shafts and tunnels that honeycombs the heart of a small island off the coast of Maine. Reputed to be the hiding place of pirate treasure, the Water Pit possesses an inexplicable ability to kill those who venture into it, from professionals to innocent explorers. But now one man has made a startling discovery: The Water Pit is actually a carefully designed fortress, conceived for pirates by a renowned seventeenth-century architect who hid his plans in code. Unlocking the code will break the curse of the Water Pit. Or will it? The most comprehensive, high-tech expedition ever assembled has come to Maine and to Dr. Malin Hatch, owner of the island. While the treasure hunters have their reasons for mounting this assault--$2 billion in gold--Hatch has his own motives to join them. For Hatch, whose brother died on Ragged Island thirty years before, the only escape from the curse is through the black swirling waters and bloodstained chambers of the Pit. With more computing power than a small university, the recovery team slowly chips away at the mystery. But as the seekers try to conquer the Pit, men begin to die. Hatch is confronted with his childhood memories of the tragedy even as he is drawn into a complex relationship with a beautiful French diver. All the while, the last, secret chamber of the Pit waits to unleash the most lethal mystery of all. . . .A thriller of the highest order, Riptide is an extraordinary novel of obsession, courage, and adventure. With each nerve-racking page we are swept into the mystery and the challenge of Ragged Island and forced to face the haunting question: Is the Water Pit a gateway to limitless treasure--or to hell itself?

Just like any other Preston and Child book, this one is very well-researched. The pirate lore background was very rich and it’s so easy to get caught up with the stories of looting and plundering. There was also mentions about cryptography which really captured my interest. The authors tried to describe in detail how code-crackers get deciphering done. It was confusing but informational as well. Since the main character is a doctor, the authors also didn’t skimp on medical facts while Dr. Malin Hatch was doing some diagnostics with certain crews. Oh and since the setting was in a lobster-fishing town, I got a craving for lobsters.

The Verdict

For a stand-alone book, this is really good. Although it’s a different protagonist altogether the storytelling is just as compelling and the character personalities very distinct. The entire ambiance for the book was very much like how it was in Jurassic Park the movie. At least that’s how I imagined it to be while reading. There’s a certain sense of adventure and an eagerness to solve the mystery and finally see where the treasure is. The book is not for the squeamish though, there were certain parts in the story that it had gotten so gory that I found myself cringing while reading.

Riptide is the first book for my 75 book reading challenge this year. I’m off to a good start. This was a good read.

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