Welcome to another stop on the 12.21.12 blog tour, hosted by Yara at Once Upon a Twilight. You can see the full schedule for this tour here.
12.21.12 by Killian McRae
Genre: Fantasy / Literary Fiction / Mystery
Publication: December 21, 2010
Source: Blog Tour
Hosted by Once Upon a Twilight
Goodreads Summary: Archaeologist Sheppard Smyth has staked his career and the honorable memory of his deceased wife and partner on proving his widely-panned theory: Cleopatra VII, last ruler of Ancient Egypt, was murdered. When a statue of the doomed Queen is discovered in an Olmec excavation site in Mexico, Shep rushes to investigate and, hopefully, find the proof that has evaded him for so long. Soon, he finds himself in the middle of the rivalry between the sexy, enigmatic international thief, Victoria Kent, and infamous rumored Russian mobster, Dmitri Kronastia. Both hold pieces to the puzzle that will finally shed light on Cleopatras death, as they vie for Shep's trust and assistance. As he is drawn further into their world of ancient gods, supernatural powers, and alternative history, little does Shep know that the fate of all humanity may hinge on his ability to discover the truth in between Victoria and Dmitris' fragmented claims and hidden identities. Working to decode the ancient past while attempting to save the future, Shep becomes a common pawn played by forces working to see out a quest older than the pyramids themselves and cloaked by the Mayan prophecy of 12.21.12.
Egyptian legend, a Mayan prophecy, the Russian mafia, and an American professor couldn't possibly have anything in common, right? Wrong. In 12.21.12, Killian McRae blends together a world of peoples and stories into a truly compelling narrative.
What happens when an archeologist comes close to discovering proof of his theory, proof that the ancient Egyptian gods would rather keep hidden? This is the story of Sheppard Smyth, an Egyptologist devastated by the loss of his wife. Jarred from his routine existence by a phone call from an old friend, Shep rushes to Mexico to investigate a recently-excavated sculpture of Cleopatra. There he meets Victoria Kent, and intern on the project who studied with the renown expert Anathea Hermapolous. When an unexpected theft occurs, project manager and Russian mobster Dmitri Kronastia rushes to the scene. Little does Shep know that, through the stories of these two people, he may come to know the truth of Cleopatra's death. What he does know, however, is that something is not right with Victoria Kent - behind her exterior beauty lurk dark secrets. As the days rush toward 12.21.12, the rumored end of the world as it is known, will Shep be able to piece the puzzle together? And even if he can, will the knowledge save him?
Wow. It's been a long time since I read something that wasn't YA, and this venture back into adult fiction was definitely well worth it. This book was a fast-paced, gripping novel that kept me eager to know what happened next. Though Shep is arguably the hero of the book, it is Victoria that is the most interesting. Her secrets are revealed over the course of the book, presenting one puzzle to solve after another. Dmitri is just as complex, bringing his own shady past to the mix of things. In this novel, McRae often switches points of view, allowing the reader to know more about each character. In addition, there were several flashbacks, each of which were well placed, sometimes revealing new information, sometimes clarifying suspicions that had already been raised. The writing flows very naturally, with great descriptions and a refreshing tone.
I don't want to say too much and give away any of the intrigue, but I will say this - I am usually fairly good at predicting endings, and this book thwarted my expectations more than once and left me stunned. There are also some great one-liners...and who could forget a little touch of romance?
12.21.12 truly has it all - it is an around-the-world, cross-genre, excellently-written page turner that had me hooked from the first page to the last. I cannot wait to see what McRae writes next!
Rating: 5 stars