Atlantis – David Gibbons
I like books like this. I really do. It is a novel that is both entertaining and intelligent. There is a central concept that evokes metaphysical discussion, provides enough breathing room for research and personal opinion, and has a solid storyline. This would seem to be a recipe for success. Dan Brown and a legion of clones have proven it is so. This (relatively) new hybrid of intellect and page turner is an admirable concept in that it may lead readers to conclude there is more out there than meets the eye.
‘Atlantis’ is so very close to successfully implementing the “Dan Brown” formula, but in the end something just doesn’t quite click for me.
The story starts off with a couple of archaeological discoveries which hint at the historicity of an actual Atlantis. Protagonist Jack Howard assembles a special ops team with vast resources at their disposal to follow the leads, all the while deflecting pirates, fighting the challenges of the ocean depths and attempting to be first to the re-discovery of Atlantis.
The book worked best in the parts of slower pacing, where Gibbons’ attention to historical detail and archaeology were fascinated and well constructed. When ‘Atlantis’ stopped regaling us with theory and revelation, and moved into Clive Cussler territory, it sort of lost its steam. Where things really went off the tracks however, was with the introduction of a subplot involving remnants from the Cold War. It seemed a little out of left field, and such a veer in plot line was hard to recover from.
The author’s knowledge of marine archaeology is one of the highlights of the book. The Atlantis theories, to be chewed up and, depending on your take, spat out or swallowed, are logically constructed and not beyond the realm of credibility. Like Dan Brown, Gibbons uses a few tangible pieces of history to create a plausible storyline. The infallibility of a truly mediocre leading character was a little much by the end, but not enough to actually undermine the book as a whole.
Perhaps we’ve judged this one a little harshly. A general apathy towards the central characters and an odd left turn involving a lost Russian nuclear submarine aside, there is some decent writing herein and some solid ideas. More than can be said for much of what is being published right now.
Cheers to a Canadian author as well!