The Last Testament
Genre(s) | Thriller, Mystery, Adventure
Goodreads Rating | 3.61
Humpo Rating | 3.0
A predictable answer to a thousand-year-old mystery
Maggie Costello is a former U.S. mediator who is called upon by her country to finally bring about peace between Israel and Palestine. The two countries were close to singing a peace deal before the death of right-wing Zionist Shimon Guttman brought the talks to a halt. His death is closely followed by Palestinian archaeologist Ahmed Nour. Guttman died with a cryptic note in his hand: “This will change everything.” which was reason enough for Maggie to explore the death further, but when she finds out that Nour was a colleague and friend of Guttman’s, she realises that there is much more to the deaths than meets the eye. Maggie, accompanied by Guttman’s son Uri, embarks on a journey that involves a clay tablet that contains the answer to an unsolved riddle from the Bible. The answer to this riddle is feared by people on all sides, and could either bring peace or spark war.
Having been impressed with Sam Bourne’s The Righteous Men, I decided to read another of his thrillers centred on ancient mysteries, this time the last will and testament of Abraham. This premise was very intriguing, especially as the Israel/Palestine conflict was also connected to the events and answer of the clay tablet that Maggie and Uri were searching for. But of course, things never run smoothly, there are deaths on both sides, buildings burned and threats made. All of which are aimed at trying to destabilise the peace talks between the nations’ leaders.
One aspect of this novel which is most evident, is the fact that about 200 pages could easily be torn out and have no effect on the story. The introduction was massively dragged out and it did not excite or provide any information that was of any importance. If a debut novelist had submitted the first few chapters to a literary agency or publisher, I daresay that the book would never see the light of day. But being as Bourne already has a successful novel to his name, he is afforded the lifeline of having a very poor introduction. I said in my review of The Righteous Men that Bourne could be a challenger to Dan Brown in this type of ancient mystery-thriller genre, but on this evidence he will not. The ending is too neatly brought together, and the tablet’s contents are predicted by everyone except the characters in the novel. With short chapters, the aim is to make them exciting and thrilling, but by jumping back and forth in time, and from country to country, and from character to character, the story lacked the speed that this genre demands. Ultimately, the book fails to deliver a fast-paced novel with an intriguing premise which is the basis for Bourne’s novels.
I may pick up another Bourne novel if the blurb appeals, but I will be wary in future as I don’t want a repeat experience of this dragged out novel which had a predictable ending. If he regains the fast pace and unpredictability that was in The Righteous Men, then I will be keen to read more, especially as Dan Brown’s next novel will not be released for another 11 months!
The Humpo Show | Richard