Monday, June 18, 2012

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

If you're in the mood for something along the lines of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, then Robin Wasserman's The Book of Blood and Shadow is for you. An eccentric professor and a group of five modern day American college students run afoul of an ancient religious cult when they decipher an ancient manuscript. Nora, the narrator, isn't sure if she can trust any of her companions -- while they are still alive. "I should probably start with the blood." is the first line in the book. It's a thrill-a-minute, especially when they travel to Prague where all the really scary stuff happens.

The dialogue is sassier than you'll find in Dan Brown's work. For example, when Nora translates the following sentence from Latin -- The sperm of Sol is to be cast into the matrix of Mercury, by bodily copulation or conjunction, and joining of them together -- her friend responds: "This is how you build a telephone to God? Looks more like porn for chemistry nerds."

The arcane book that is at the center of the adventure does actually exist; it's called the Voynich manuscript. (More about that document can be found here). The Book of Blood and Shadow contains an entertaining mix of humour, suspense and alchemical secrets.

Readalikes, in addition to Dan Brown: Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Laini Taylor); Angelology (Danielle Trussoni); and The Eight (Katherine Neville).

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