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The Lost Throne    by Chris Kuzneski order for
Lost Throne
by Chris Kuzneski
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Chris Kuzneski, author of Sign of the Cross and Sword of God, now brings readers The Lost Throne, another fast-paced read that blends history with modern thrills and chills. The novel stars legendary ex-Special Forces members (and best friends whose banter and bad puns carry the story) Jonathon Payne and D. J. Jones. Still 'considered valuable assets by the Pentagon', they consult 'on everything from training to tactics' at U.S. military installations around the globe.

The novel's Prologue takes readers to 1890 Naples, Italy, where the 'greatest secret of Ancient Greece was silenced by a death' of a wealthy foreigner in his sixties on Christmas morning. Before he expired, he spoke at length in a jumble of languages about a throne. We then fast forward two centuries to a modern day massacre of monks (a perilous profession in thrillers these days) at the Monastery of the Holy Trinity, perched on natural rock pillars near the Pindus Mountains in Central Greece. They're beheaded by intruders in bronze helmets with swords strapped on their backs. Nick Dial, head of the Homicide division at Interpol, investigates with the help of a keen young Greek cop, Marcus Andropoulos.

Next, Jonathon and D. J. answer a 'Life or death' call for help from a damsel in distress in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Allison Taylor - a Stanford doctoral student researching 'the P. T. Barnum of archaeology', Heinrich Schliemann - accompanied Richard Byrd (an American collector of Greek relics) there as a consultant, only to see him shot in front of her eyes. Jonathon and D. J. wend their way to Russia via Finland and find Allison. Attempting to recover her research notes, they play tag with the Russian assassin who killed Byrd, and Allison learns that 'The coat equals the key.'

The treasure hunters - including Dial and Andropoulos, Jonathon, D. J. and Allison, and ruthless Spartan warriors who follow the ancient traditions - converge in gory action on Mount Athos, the Holy Mountain and spiritual center of the Greek Orthodox Church, where they seek a huge Statue of Zeus, 'covered with gold, ivory, and precious jewels.' Once you suspend disbelief Chris Kuzneski's The Lost Throne is an exciting, over the top adventure centered on that fascinating and controversial archaeological opportunist, Heinrich Schliemann, who discovered the lost city of Troy.

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