The Lazarus Vault

This book was an impulse purchase. I’d popped into Asda to buy a few things and  looked over their cheap, but not extensive, range of paperbacks and chose this one, The Lazarus Vault by Tom Harper.

I had expected yet another Da Vinci Code derivative, which it is in a way, but was pleasantly surprised by the writing which draws you into the story and makes disbelief easy to suspend.

The story evolves in alternate chapters, one set in the 12th century, the other in the present day. The former focuses on the life of Peter of Camros, a Norman who grows up in Wales and then in France after his family are murdered by renegade knights.

Intended for the church at eight years old, all is changed by these events and he trains to become a knight and his life unfolds he plays a part in creating the circumstances that will lead to a centuries old stalemate between the forces of light and darkness.

The catalyst in breaking this stalemate is Ellie Stanton, an Oxford post-graduate student from a humble background who is offered a well-paid job with the secretive and sinister Monsalvat Bank. Apart from her intelligence, she brings no particular skill or knowledge that you normally find in heroes of this genre — cryptography, arcane history, theology, that sort of thing — and she becomes beglamoured by wealth and power.

The Lazarus Vault has a long, fizzing fuse. For three-quarters of the book, you know that something is going on, but you are left guessing as to what it is, but the storytelling is strong enough to carry it.

The object of the tale is an ancient artifact, or two in fact, and you are left to draw your own conclusions as to their origin. Neither do they do anything, no magic or the ruin of the world, it is what they represent that matters. And the lengths that the men of both light and darkness will go to to possess them.

Both Peter and Ellie are both pawns in a complex game of chess who become more powerful pieces. Peter a knight in both senses and Ellie the pawn who becomes a queen.

If you enjoy Dan Brown mysteries, but would prefer a better writing style and character and plot credibility, The Lazarus Vault is for you. A definite nine out of ten.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

4 comments… Add yours
  • Yorkshire Pudding 18th October 2010

    You can’t fool me mate! I know your “nom de plume” is Tom Harper! Surely you could have picked a better one – ALBERT BODDINGTON, SIDNEY ECCLES or JULIAN FERGUSON for example. “The Da Vinci Code” was one of the most irritating and badly written books I have ever read on a theme that bored me intensely so I doubt that “The Lazarus Vault” would grab me. Besides, only rich people shop in ASDA.

  • Polly 18th October 2010

    If I could write as well as him, I wouldn’t be bothering with Shooting Parrots!

    Da Vinci was a good story averagely written, but I’d still recommend Lazarus is you enjoy a bit of conspiracy escapism.

  • Jay from The Depp Effect 18th October 2010

    Well, I’ve been meaning to try the Da Vinci Code etc, because I’m told I’d enjoy them, but I haven’t done so yet. Should I try this one instead, do you think? Or as well? Hmm …

  • Polly 19th October 2010

    Hi Jay,
    No matter what YP says, Da Vinci Code has an intriguing plot even if it requires a high dose of disbelief suspension. I’d recommend it for its story-telling, if not its literary qualities.

    The Lazarus Vault is better written in my opinion and I’ve just started another Tom Harper novel on the strength of it. All depends on what your preferred reading is I suppose.


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