The Pharaoh Key picks up Gideon’s story right after his last mission with Effective Engineering Solutions. Two quick twists jump-start the plot: Gideon’s trip to the doctor confirms a prior diagnosis of an inoperable brain disorder and he is given only months to live. And his employer stops payments on his salary and mysteriously closes its doors. A former coworker soon calls him in a panic asking him to meet at EES’s shuttered office, where they discover a computer analysis of a long-lost artifact, one that might hold the key to untold riches. Gideon and Garza decide to use this information for themselves to get a little retribution for their boss cutting them off.
Adventurer Gideon and engineer Garza make an unlikely team, but one that works well in this novel. They banter and step on each other’s toes throughout the novel; they work together, sometimes, and they pull at either end of the rope, all of the time. The deciphered map and their pact take them to Egypt on a first-rate adventure. The desert trip recipe is followed perfectly: water is lost, a nefarious guide hired, and a Class 5 sand storm is weathered. They also find themselves with a traveling companion that they may or may not be able to trust. It all drives them deeper into the desert and closer to a very good ending that has been hinted as the close of the series.
Yes, the pieces of the plot fall pretty easily into place, sometimes by sleight of hand (Garza is a trained magician), but at its heart, the book is a guilty pleasure set in several exotic locales. The Pharaoh Key is a – late-night Jolt Cola and a Tastycake – of an adventure. Perfect for fans of Indianna Jones and Dirk Pitt. I breezed through it and had absolutely no guilt in the morning.
4 out of 5 stars
Thank you to NetGalley, Hachette Book Group, Grand Central Publishing, Douglas Preston, and Lincoln Child for the advanced copy for review.