The God-king Narmer was a Pharaoh who united upper and lower Egypt over 5,000 years ago. Thought to be the successor to the Pharaoh’s Scorpion and Ka, he became the first leader of unified Egypt. Along with his wife, Neithhotep, the two ruled Egypt and quickly became legends. However, it is not what they did during their life that drives the plot of Lincoln Child’s latest novel, THE THIRD GATE. Rather, it is what they left behind them after their death that is the true stuff of legend. Specifically, their buried tomb is rumored to contain a prize that has been sought for countless centuries.
"THE THIRD GATE is an ideal summer beach read. It presents a roller-coaster ride of excitement and unearthly chills that will please both [Childs'] loyal readers and first-timers looking for a great literary adventure."
It is at this point when historical legend meets speculative fiction. World-famous explorer and multi-millionaire Porter Stone is determined to unearth this legendary tomb and bask in the riches alleged to lie within. Porter is a larger-than-life character, sort of a Ted Turner meets Steve “The Crocodile Hunter” Irwin. He and his band of highly-paid explorers find themselves in one of the most remote and dangerous dig sites on the planet --- the swampy marshland known as The Sudd.
The vast swamp located in South Sudan is completely uninhabitable and untraversable, but this does not stop the great Porter Stone. He goes and builds a floating mini-scientific village on the surface of The Sudd; the free-floating archeological base is manned by some of the most expensive equipment and scientific minds working in the field today. They are there for one reason --- Stone believes the tomb of King Narmer is buried in the muck of The Sudd.
This is where our hero, Professor Jeremy Logan, comes into play. A world-renowned enigmologist, Logan possesses a unique specialty not presently found on The Sudd mission. He has made a living and garnered quite a reputation as someone who studies and interprets bizarre and inexplicable enigmas and events. There has been plenty of this during The Sudd mission, resulting in tragedy and death. There is an alleged curse on all who attempt to open up King Narmer’s tomb, and Logan’s job is to refute the tragic occurrences on the mission as being mere accidents and not a part of Narmer’s supernatural reach from beyond the grave. As more strange occurrences take place, Logan is challenged to debunk what he is seeing firsthand and quickly realizes that all of their lives are in terrible danger.
What Lincoln Child does best, whether writing solo or with Douglas Preston, is to create enormously readable thrillers that are packed with well-researched scientific and historical premises. THE THIRD GATE is an ideal summer beach read. It presents a roller-coaster ride of excitement and unearthly chills that will please both his loyal readers and first-timers looking for a great literary adventure.
Reviewed by Ray Palen on June 29, 2012