The Fire Seekers, by Richard Farr
When his father discovers ancient tablets in the Mediterranean, Daniel Calder’s life slowly unravels. His mother dies under suspicious circumstances on a mountain; his father’s former intern becomes a powerful cult leader; hundreds are disappearing worldwide. The teenager, with the help of his brilliant friend Morag and the powerful Rosko, tries to figure out mysteries in both the past and the present. The characters aren’t particularly interesting or boring; this is about the plot more than anything. The ultimate question is whether the supernatural Architects are real, a myth, or something else entirely.
There are two real parts to this story: the historical puzzles surrounding the origins of civilization, and the present-day mysterious disappearances. The former is significantly more interesting than the latter, with old documents and real-life unexplained phenomena woven into mostly satisfying explanations. (It helps to enjoy ancient history.) The present-day story is less well developed, and moves along in fits and starts, leading up to a final, somewhat muddy showdown.
Most aspects of this book are characterized with the same pattern: occasional brilliance punctuating a lot of average. There are some very insightful or funny lines here:
“[my father] wants to feel close to me, wants to understand me, and wants the easy road to that results, which is me being more like him than I am.”
“I am an Armenian, and therefore I hate everybody. I am also a Christian, and therefore I love everybody. Life is complicated.”
Rather than including more gems of this kind, Farr spends much of the time describing the action scenes (Daniel suffers lots of pain and describes all of it every time) in excruciating, though fortunately skippable, detail.
I haven’t decided if I’ll keep reading the trilogy. If you like books like The Rule of Four or Dan Brown’s work, you might like this.