This is the 3rd book of Raymond Khoury’s that I have read. First was “The Last Templar” next “The Devils Elixir” and now “The Sanctuary”. “The Sanctuary” is set in Europe and the Middle East during the 18th century and current time.
What I found was that characters from the first book I read, “The Last Templar” were also in “The Devil’s Elixir” but not in “The Sanctuary”. This doesn’t take anything from the books but I found it curious. Could this be a book that wasn’t picked up, but now that “The Last Templar” did well it was thought that it would be read. That is just a theory.
“The Sanctuary” has a CIA operative, Jim Corben, stationed in Beirut, Lebanon. Corben has come to the rescue of Mia Bishop, an American geneticist, also working in Beirut.
Mia has taken an opportunity to work in Lebanon and also to reconnect with her mother, a single parent and full-time archeologist, that has lived in Beirut since 1992. Mia was raised by an Aunt and Uncle outside Boston safe from the turmoil of the Middle East.
Mia and Mom are becoming more comfortable with each others company and have arranged an evening together meeting for drinks and diner. In the mean time, Mom has been contacted by a Iraqi antiquities dealer that she had known years before and has to leave early for a mysterious rendezvous. Evelyn, Mia’s Mom, forgets her phone and Mia tries to catch her. When she does find her, Mom and the antiquities dealer are being forced into a car. Mia screams for help but Mom is taken, the dealer escapes and soldiers coming to rescue are shot. After a night with Beirut detectives and a less than hopeful meeting with U.S. Embassy personnel Corbin arrives and gets Mia out of the police station and back to her own hotel with a promise to find and get her Mother back safe.
There is also a plot where a 18th century Marquis is accosted in the middle of the night by three swordsmen looking for secrets held in a mysterious book. Sword fights and a burning palazzo leaves one person on the run and a prince obsessed in finding the book and the marquis.
Khoury moves between the 18th century and current times bringing it all together in search for the book with a snake eating its own tail on the cover.
Personally, I found that the some of the dialog, that was needed to further the plot line, slow and hard to keep interesting. I also found it was easy to be distracted from the book. By distracted, I mean, I put it down and didn’t hurry to pick it back up again. The intertwining of the two plots was easy to figured out well before it was developed and final outcome, although unexpected, hard to believe. The book contained plenty of action and an evil unrelenting antagonist or antagonists. One from current time and one from the 18th century both bent on finding the secrets of the book. If that is what you want, it is the book for you. I felt let down, and ready to move to the next book.
Which brings us to “Deception Point” by Dan Brown copyright 2001. You all know Dan Brown from “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons”. Lets see how this one compares. So far it has kept me interested.