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Lincoln Child’s The Third Gate is a stand-alone adventure, perfect for reading in bed long past the time you should be reading in bed if you have any hope of heeding your morning alarm. The reason has several components: The long lost tomb of the Egyptian “god-king” Narmer, the first to unite upper and lower Egypt, filled with expected treasure (and something unexpected); the Sudd, an impenetrable swamp that seems to contain the accumulated waste of the earth as a thick, deadly soup; legendary explorer Porter Stone, who has enough wealth to organise what amounts to an archeological dig on steroids; and a character I’d like to see more of—Dr. Jeremy Logan, a self-described “enigmalogist” {I kept stumbling over the pronunciation of this word (it doesn’t roll off the tongue) until another character, in disdain, said “enig-MA-logist” and saved me from myself}, a title that embraces all forms of the unknown from historical and scientific mysteries to the mystical and supernatural. This wise, gentle man is plonked onto a highly advanced mobile archeological base tethered in the middle of a nightmare to investigate strange occurrences that may or may not have something to do with Narmer’s unusually formidable curse. Seriously, you don’t need anything else to have fun.

Despite all the breath-taking technology at Stone’s disposal, his historic venture is at the mercy of the personal demons and weaknesses of his carefully chosen staff as much as to the sense of powerful evil that seems to shadow every stage of the exploration. No matter how well he tries to insulate himself from the surrounding environmental cesspool, equilibrium is not in his favor. There are interesting discussions about the way archeological finds should be handled as opposed to how they are handled on this dig. And in the struggle between scholarship and greed that affects some of the researchers, even the great Porter Stone forgets procedure in the advent of his discovery. The accidents and strange sightings accumulate and intensify as Logan, searching for a connection, is eventually drawn to an associated study of near-death experience and its beautiful, extremely fragile subject. The truth comes on swift wings, to borrow standard curse parlance, and takes them all by surprise.

Please check out Lincoln Child’s official website for more information about this book and his other projects.