Monday, October 24, 2016


 When her chronically unemployed husband runs off to start a crocodile farm in Kenya with his mistress, Joséphine Cortès is left in an unhappy state of affairs. The mother of two—confident, beautiful teenage Hortense and shy, babyish Zoé—is forced to maintain a stable family life while making ends meet on her meager salary as a medieval history scholar. Meanwhile, Joséphine’s charismatic sister Iris seems to have it all—a wealthy husband, gorgeous looks, and a très chic Paris address—but she dreams of bringing meaning back into her life. When Iris charms a famous publisher into offering her a lucrative deal for a twelfth-century romance, she offers her sister a deal of her own: Joséphine will write the novel and pocket all the proceeds, but the book will be published under Iris’s name. All is well—that is, until the book becomes the literary sensation of the season.

Jerusalem, 70 AD. As the legions of Rome besiege the Holy Temple, a boy is given a secret that he
must guard with his life...Southern Germany, December 1944. Six emaciated prisoners drag a mysterious crate deep into a disused mine. They too give their lives to keep the secret safe: murdered by their Nazi guards...Egypt, Valley of the Kings, the present day. A body is found amongst some ruins. It appears to be an open-and-shut case for Inspector Yusuf Khalifa of the Luxor police. But what begins as a routine investigation rapidly turns out to be the most trying case of his career. Forced into an uneasy alliance with Arieh Ben-Roi, a hard-drinking Jerusalem detective, and Layla al-Madani, a daring Palestinian journalist, Khalifa enters a murky, murderous world of greed, duplicity, intrigue and revenge as he goes in search of an extraordinary long-lost artifact that could, in the wrong hands, turn the Middle East into a blood bath. Traveling from ancient Jerusalem to contemporary Egypt, and involving Cathar heretics, coded medieval manuscripts, and hidden Nazi treasures, The Last Secret of the Temple is an absorbing thriller set against the tumultuous politics of the present-day Middle East.

 -> Two more mini comments on books I've recently read in Portuguese. The first  was borrowed, the other is mine. Both weren't priorities but in a way it good to have them out of the pile.

The Last Secret of the Temple is a contemporary story featuring an Egyptian police inspector and shows his efforts to solve a crime. This is a stand alone story but it can be read as part of a series if we think about the protagonist.
In this book, there are two main ideas being developed, the investigation of the crime and the war between Palestine and Israel.With time we realize both things are connected within the plot.
I liked the book because it was easy to read, the writing is fluid and accessible. Obviously, the themes not so much and the conflict we see everyday on television is well portrayed here. How easy it would be to find peace but...
The fictional part of the book was OK, not the best plot ever but it includes several interesting facts and ideas. To be honest, the end was sort of over the top. I understand the need to present something amazing but there was no need. In the end it was quite the story, I was entertained but certain plot moves weren't necessary in my opinion.
Grade: 7/10

The Yellow Eyes of the Crocodiles is a contemporary romance where we meet Josephine, a woman in her early 40s and someone very tired with life. Josephine's husband eventually leaves after she threw him out, but the bills keep piling up. Somehow Josephine manages to find work, besides her own, doing small translations and writing papers and that brings in some more money but it isn't until her older, rich and confident sister proposes her a deal that her life starts to change quickly...
The book isn't so bad in general but the cast is truly a challenge. I liked Josephine as protagonist but her daughter Hortense is more than annoying. The story is clearly meant to be a satire of today's busy lives and what happens if we lose our own personality under all the problems and difficulties we face but I never warmed up to any character and most of them are in situations too cliché to be considered special. Yes, it was fun to see some things happen but most of the time I struggled to just like them. I finished the book quickly because from a certain point on, it's just like a soap opera. I liked the fact I could finish but to me it's not as amazing as all the critics have led me to think when the book was published.
Grade: 5/10

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