Monday, January 27, 2014

Book Review: The Tenth Saint by D.J. Niko


Cambridge archaeologist Sarah Weston makes an unusual discovery in the ancient Ethiopian mountain kingdom of Aksum: a sealed tomb with inscriptions in an obscure dialect. Seeking to ascertain the translation and the identity of the entombed man, she and her colleague, American anthropologist Daniel Madigan, stumble upon a lethal conflict.

Tracking down clues in Addis Ababa and the monasteries of Lalibela, Sarah and Daniel uncover a codex in a subterranean library revealing a set of prophecies about Earth’s final hours written by a man hailed by Coptic mystics as Ethiopia’s tenth saint. Violently opposed by the corrupt director of antiquities at the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism, they’re left for dead in the heart of the Simien Mountains. Surviving to journey to Paris, Sarah is given another piece of the ancient puzzle: a fourteenth-century letter describing catastrophic events leading to the planet’s demise.

Connecting the two discoveries, Sarah faces a deadly intercontinental conspiracy to keep the secret of the tenth saint buried. Risking her reputation and her life, Sarah embarks on a quest to stall the technological advances that will surely destroy the world.

Medallion Press | January 25th, 2012 | 464 pages

My Review

When Sarah Weston, a Cambridge archaeologist leading a dig in Ethiopia, stumbles upon a seemingly untouched tomb, she realizes that her find could be historically significant.  As Sarah works to uncover the identity of the tomb's occupant, she quickly learns that there are those who will do anything to keep the truth hidden.  Determined to carry on with her work in spite of threats, Sarah joins forces with anthropologist and TV personality Daniel Madigan.  Working together, Sarah and Daniel learn that the body belonged a man known as Ethiopia's tenth saint, a man whose prophecies describe in detail the earth's final days.  But Sarah and Daniel's discoveries continue to place them, and those they associate with, in direct danger.  As Sarah and Daniel come to learn more about the tenth saint's prophecies, they realize that much more is at stake then just their professional careers and, potentially, their lives.  For if the prophecies hold true, the end of days is near.      

The Tenth Saint, the first novel in D.J. Niko's Sarah Weston Chronicles, is a modern-day thriller that will keep readers eagerly turning the pages.  One of the things I liked best about this novel is that it doesn't fit neatly into any one genre.  While the bulk of the narrative focuses on Sarah Weston and her quest (the thriller aspect), certain chapters also flash back in time to the days of the tenth saint.  This gives the book a historical flavour.  I found the prophet's chapters, while initially slow to get going, every bit as intriguing as those set in the modern-day, especially as the truth of his life is slowly revealed.  Sarah Weston is a well-developed character.  I admit that I didn't warm to her right away, but by the novel's end she'd won me over.   Another strength of this novel is its setting.  Most thrillers I've read recently are set in the United States and/or Europe.  While parts of this novel are set in these common locations, much of the book takes place in Africa, which is not a typical setting for thrillers.  While certain aspects of the narrative are predictable and others not entirely plausible, the suspense is maintained throughout the story.   For this reason I found The Tenth Saint difficult to put down, and ended up racing through it in a matter of hours.   

Recommended to fans of thrillers, especially those with a historical touch.   I'm looking forward to reading The Riddle of Solomon, the next book in D.J. Niko's Sarah Weston Chronicles. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Source: I received a copy of this novel as part of D.J. Niko's Virtual Book Tour in exchange for a fair and honest review

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The Tenth Saint is currently on tour!  Click here to check out the tour schedule, which includes reviews, a giveaway, and a guest post.

About the Author

D.J. Niko is the nom de plume of Daphne Nikolopoulos, an award-winning author and journalist. Her first novel, titled The Tenth Saint, was released in March 2012 to rave reviews by both readers and the trade. In March 2013, it was awarded the Gold Medal for popular fiction in the prestigious, juried Florida Book Awards. An archaeological thriller embroidered with historical motifs, The Tenth Saint takes readers on an adventure across the globe: Ethiopia, the Syro-Arabian Desert and Abyssinian Empire circa fourth century, London, Paris, Brussels, and Texas. The Tenth Saint is the first book in The Sarah Weston Chronicles series. The second, titled The Riddle of Solomon, releases July 1, 2013.  Daphne is now at work on a historical novel set in tenth century B.C.E. Israel. The epic story details the collapse of the United Monarchy and the glory and fall of the empire built by King Solomon. It will be released in early 2015.

As a former travel journalist, Daphne has traveled across the globe on assignment, or for personal discovery. She has been to some places most of us don’t realize are on the map, and she has brought them to life through her writing for various magazines, newspapers and websites on an international scale. Her travel background and rich experiences now bring authentic detail, color, and realism to her fiction.

She also is the editor in chief of Palm Beach Illustrated magazine, a 62-year-old luxury-lifestyle glossy. She also is the editorial director of Palm Beach Media Group, and in that capacity oversees 11 magazines and 3 websites.

She is the mother of twin toddlers and, in her spare time, volunteers for causes she believes in—literacy, education, child advocacy, and the advancement of traditional and tribal arts from around the world. Born in Athens, Greece, she now lives with her family in West Palm Beach, Florida.

For more information, please visit D.J. Niko’s website. You can also follow on Facebook and Goodreads.

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