Sometimes it’s difficult to critique another author’s work without comparing it to your own. However, when I see A.G. Riddle’s The Atlantis Gene constantly positioned in the genre with my own Nicholas Foxe Adventures, I can’t resist. But I’ll try.
The Atlantis Gene is premised on an advanced civilization, from thousands of years ago, unknown to modern man, until an areological discovery is made. OK, that’s like The Code Hunters. But take that premise and add worldwide conspiracy theories, bloody shootouts, the origin of the Spanish flu, and experiments on unsuspecting victims. While we’re at it, toss in Nazis time traveling to the present for good measure.
What Riddle does well is creating a fast-paced chase. Bad guys after a pair of good guys. Bombs blowing up everything that automatic weapons don’t destroy first. Action scenes are not easy work. Riddle does them well.
But, right in the middle of the book, we change gears, seriously downshifting to a saga that begins in the First World War. We read a story that goes on for several chapters that has a completely different feel, as though someone dropped the pages from another book into this one. It makes you want to shake your Kindle to see if it inadvertently switched books on you. You conclude that this is the backstory of key characters and events in the plot, but it takes way too much time. I suggest that you could skip all this material and not lose much.
Then we pick up the chase again. But wait, Riddle has some more tricks up his sleeve. How to pull some surprises about the characters roles in this mystery? I know, let’s have central characters change their names. So, this guy is really that guy in the backstory and the other guy is another guy.
Bottom line: This is a well-written action adventure thriller. Longer than need be, and it just gets the story started. Tune in to other installations in the series for more. I debated giving The Atlantis Gene three stars or four. On the basis of appreciation of the craft of writing good action scenes, I give it four stars.