Undiscovered – Anna Hackett

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Author: Anna Hackett
Series: Treasure Hunter Security #1

Pages: 249

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Finding undiscovered treasures is always daring, dangerous, and deadly. Perfect for the men of Treasure Hunter Security. Former Navy SEAL Declan Ward is haunted by the demons of his past and throws everything he has into his security business–Treasure Hunter Security. Dangerous archeological digs – no problem. Daring expeditions – sure thing. Museum security for invaluable exhibits – easy. But on a simple dig in the Egyptian desert, he collides with a stubborn, smart archeologist, Dr. Layne Rush, and together they get swept into a deadly treasure hunt for a mythical lost oasis. When an evil from his past reappears, Declan vows to do anything to protect Layne.

Dr. Layne Rush is dedicated to building a successful career–a promise to the parents she lost far too young. But when her dig is plagued by strange accidents, targeted by a lethal black market antiquities ring, and artifacts are stolen, she is forced to turn to Treasure Hunter Security, and to the tough, sexy, and too-used-to-giving-orders Declan. Soon her organized dig morphs into a wild treasure hunt across the desert dunes. Danger is hunting them every step of the way, and Layne and Declan must find a way to work together…to not only find the treasure but to survive.

Anna Hackett has been on my radar for quite a long time, but there were always some other book that took precedence and her work was being constantly pushed to the lowest positions of my TBR list. One of the main reasons was that I thought her books were most of them about Sci-Fi Romance, a genre I don’t pick very often. But, not so long ago I discovered that she has a saga about treasure hunters. I read the blurb and I knew I had to get my hands on them. Yes, this book has been my particular “Undsicovered”.

This books tells the story of Dr. Layne Rush, an archeologist who is digging a new discovery in Egypt. Sadly, the dig site is hit by some mercenaries and several of the relics are stolen. The University she works for hires Treasure Hunter Security to take care of the security (the company name says it all). It’s a company formed mostly by former soldiers (young, tall, muscular… you know, the whole romance package) and the owner, Declan, is the one that takes charge of the security of Layne’s work. She is not happy at first, but some flirting and life or death situations make her a believer…

I love the book as a whole. It’s more or less what the author promises and then some: lots of action and fun exchanges. There is always something hapenning in the book, which is its main strength to keep the reader entertained. When I saw the length of the book, I was afraid that the action and adventure parts would be shortened to leave more room for the romance; but it’s actually the opposite. There are hand-to-hand fights, pursuits through the desert, riddle solving and treasure hunting in general. No rest means more fun.

But it’s not just mindless action and eye candiness galore. My greatest surprise with this book were the several facts the author teaches us about Zerzura and Egyptian mythology in general. I was an utter newbie in the lost oasis legend and this book has made me check the Internet to read more about Zerzura and the expeditions to find it. A book that makes me learn something will always be a special book on my shelf. I wasn’t expecting it at all (it didn’t look like the book to enhance my Trivial Pursuits skills), so that has been a huge help to make me enjoy the story. Don’t get me wrong, without the beginner class about Zerzura, the book would still have been a really fun ride.

The characters are nothing out of the ordinary, but they fulfill their roles quite nicely, even though there are certains details that felt more unnatural than others. Layne is presented to us as a very independent woman who takes no bullshit and is capable of defending herself at any moment. At least that must be true when Declan is not around. When the former soldier is on the scene, Layne is usually reduced to a damsel in distress, so the leader of Treasure Hunter Security can polish more often his White Knight armor. I would never hate on that too strongly, otherwise I would never read Romance books, but it is something that has always rub me the wrong way. They are fun together, so I can easily forgive that misstep.

The romance itself is the weakest link of the story. At first is being brewed very slowly, as I like it. But when Hell is broken loose, the relationship speeds up so drastically that I felt dizzy. We go from a passionate kiss to “I love you” in barely a couple of chapters. I’m having a hard time to believe they have developed such strong feelings in such a short time. They barely know each other!! I know that under duress stuff is intensified, but it was too much too soon. And don’t make me start about the places they pick to keep themelves warm in a very intimate way (or to have sex, if you are not feeling poetic today). Naked time in those waters doesn’t seem a wise decision. You never know what kind of leeches or bacteria could be on those undiscovered places… I guess I’m not the adventurous type…

Very happy for having decided to start this saga. If this is what I’m going to get with the rest of it, I’m going to be a very pleased reader this year!

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Claro de Tierra – Arthur C. Clarke

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Original Title: Earthlight
Author:
Arthur C. Clarke
Pages: 320

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Two hundred years after humans first touched down on the surface of the Moon, there are permanent settlements there—as well as on Venus and Mars. The inhabitants of these colonies have formed their own political alliance: the Federation.

On the Moon, a government agent from Earth is hunting a suspected spy at a prominent observatory. He is caught up in the larger political struggle between Earth’s government and that of the Federation, and ultimately must struggle for his life—in the beautiful and barren landscape of the Moon under Earth’s light.

This book is about a government agent from Earth who has to travel to the Moon to find a spy. A spy who is sending information to the planets of the Federation about the mineral resources of the Moon.

Why is that important? Only the Earth in our Solar System is rich with the minerals that humanity needs to advance. So, our dear planet has a very tight control over those resources and doesn’t give them easily to the Federation. Obviously, the other planets are not very fond of that behaviour. Earth scientists discovered a way to exploit the mineral resources of the Moon, but the government decided to stay quiet, in order to avoid the Federation requests for more minerals.

Somehow, the Federation is informed about what is happening on the Moon; which makes the Earth government realizes that there must be a spy. That spy must be from the Observatory, a complex full of astronomers. They decided to send there an agent disguised as an accountant to investigate and catch the spy.

It sounds pretty interesting, isn’t it? Sadly, that’s hardly the main course of this book. The most enjoyable part is when the author describes how is the life on the Moon and all the politics that are necessary for the plot (and teaches the reader a bit of astronomy, too). I was expecting a “duel” between agent and spy, but nothing farther from reality. I even dare to say that the main character, Sadlter the agent, is utterly disposable. He doesn’t weigh on the story at all. He is just the couple of eyes Arthutr uses to show us how the world is in that distant future. That’s pretty sad, becasue if we remove the pages where Sadler is, the book would have like 50 pages at most. In all the important parts, the agent from Earth is nowhere to be found.

Does that mean is a bad book? Not at all. It just means that the book doesn’t give the reader what the blurb suggests. It would have been exactly the same without the agent or the spy. But Arthur is a master at drawing the future, so it makes up for the lack of the promised mystery.

There is also a detail I can’t forget: where are the women in that future? All the characters are male ones: scientists, soldiers, journalists… I know the first edition was in 1955, but it’s still curious that they don’t have any role at all.

It’s a good book, easy to read and enjoyable. But it’s not what I expected…

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Next: Blood Trinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love