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Napoleon's Pyramids: An Ethan Gage Adventure (Ethan Gage Adventures Book 1) Kindle Edition
“It has a plot as satisfying as an Indiana Jones film and offers enough historical knowledge to render the reader a fascinating raconteur on the topics of ancient Egypt and Napoleon Bonaparte.” —USA Today
A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author William Dietrich introduces readers to the globe-trotting American adventurer Ethan Gage in Napoleon’s Pyramids—an ingenious, swashbuckling yarn whose action-packed pages nearly turn themselves.
The first book in Dietrich’s fabulously fun New York Times bestselling series, Napoleon’s Pyramids follows the irrepressible Gage—a brother in spirit to George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman—as he travels with Napoleon’s expedition across the burning Egyptian desert in an attempt to solve a 6,000 year old riddle with the help of a mysterious medallion. Here is superior adventure fiction in the spirit of Jack London, Robert Lewis Stevenson, and H. Rider Haggard, and fans of their acclaimed successors—James Rollins, David Liss, Steve Berry, Kate Mosse—will certainly want to get to know Ethan Gage.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
William Dietrich is the author of fourteen novels, including six previous Ethan Gage titles—Napoleon's Pyramids, The Rosetta Key, The Dakota Cipher, The Barbary Pirates, The Emerald Storm, and The Barbed Crown. Dietrich is also a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, historian, and naturalist. A winner of the PNBA Award for Nonfiction, he lives in Washington State.--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B000S1L910
- Publisher : HarperCollins e-books; Illustrated edition (March 17, 2009)
- Publication date : March 17, 2009
- Language : English
- File size : 1067 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 400 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #486,830 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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Napoleon's Pyramids opens up with Ethan Gage living in Paris in 1798 after the death of his mentor, Benjamin Franklin, and the aftermath of the French Revolution. He wins an old, strange-looking Egyptian medallion in a card game and soon discovers that it's cursed. In less than twenty-four hours, he's beaten and his room is trashed, he's accused of murdering a prostitute, he finds himself hiding in a horse drawn carriage on its way to the French coast where Napoleon's army is being boarded onto ships for the planned invasion of Egypt, and the villains are still hot on his trail. The person who truly desires the medallion is the evil Count Silano, and he has a following of thugs who are led by a cold-hearted killer who worships and handles poisonous snakes. Managing to squeeze his way into Napoleon's good graces, Gage soon finds himself in the land of the ancient pyramids fighting in hand-to-hand combat with the invading French army. It isn't long before he's acquired a fierce Arab warrior as his slave and a beautiful, alluring priestess, who knows more about the secrets of the medallion than she lets on. Through one peril after another, Gage is eventually led to the Great Pyramid of Giza and finds his way inside to the hidden tomb of the Pharaoh and the ancient mysteries of Egyptian magic and the medallion and perhaps a power strong enough to enable a human being to rule the world.
Because of the book's sequel, we know going in that Gage survives the countless dangers of Napoleon's Pyramids. This, however, didn't hinder my enjoyment of the story. While filled with tons of interesting historical information and anecdotes, what makes this novel so good is the character of Ethan Gage and his rogue-type personality. You have our hero, plus the evil villains who are bigger than life, the beautiful female that the hero falls in love with, but doesn't know if he can really trust her, the constant dangers that arise and which he barely survives, and the array of actual historical figures that color this vast canvas. I found Dietrich's writing to be excellent and his story-telling reminiscent of past times, bringing back the pleasures of reading such wonderful stories from my earlier years. This tale of action and intrigue also gives you a stark look at what Napoleon's campaign in Egypt was like and the hardships that were faced by his troops and commanding officers. The desert definitely took its toll on all involved.
Napoleon's Pyramids is a novel for those of you who enjoy the magic of adventures to far-distant lands with dangers lurking around every corner and a hero who's flawed, but manages to come out ahead at every turn of the dice. An excellent summer read!
So I picked up "Napoleon's Pyramids" in spite of the fact that it was written entirely in first person (unlike the previous books of his I read which were at least in part in third person.) I expected to enjoy it based on the fact that it was about ancient Egyptian magic and theories on the pyramids, secret societies and the French invasion of Egypt. But as the back of the book says this book is a lot like Indiana Jones, in fact it is so much like a cross between Indiana Jones, the movie the Mummy (the second one) and the movie National Treasure that it seems like it was written solely for the purpose of making it into a movie one day.
Ethan Gage is a man without purpose or drive, living in post revolution France and making money by demonstrating electricity (he was Franklin's assistant) and gambling. But his life takes a drastic turn when he wins an ancient medallion in a card game one night and soon people are turning up dead as a poor, secretive and Egyptian obsessed count tries to obtain the piece-by any means possible. To escape his reach, and the French courts who believe that Gage killed a prostitute (who was in reality killed by those seeking the necklace) Gage is signed on as a savant on the Egyptian expedition, helping Napoleon use electricity to understand the pyramids.
But trouble fallowed Gage to the country of pharos, magic and man made stone mountains. Soon he is facing the entire Egyptian Right, an enemy army and an increasingly skeptical Napoleon, as well as a slave girl/priestess who knows more about the necklace and its purpose than anyone alive...except for the count.
I'm not saying this book doesn't have it good parts-it is entertaining and in an overly fantasized action/mythic movie sort of way but it is just so formulaic that I had a hared time staying interested for more than a page or two at a time. And while the book has its funny, romantic and active parts its very clear exactly what purpose each extremely stereotypical character has from the moment they're introduced-the comic relief, the mysterious love interest, the villain bent on world domination, the warrior, the scholar....
All in all I enjoyed this book some what, especially towards the end and the plot was interesting enough for me to want to read the sequel I still think the book was written as a prequel to a movie script and while the descriptions in the book were excellent and the action scenes respectable, almost all the characters and the romantic elements could have been written much better. And overall I just enjoy this author better when he writes in third person.
Three stars for the plot, two for the writing. Two and half total but I'm still going to read the sequel "The Rosetta Stone" when it comes out in mass market paperback.
Top reviews from other countries
And this is a classic quest to find something important/secret/significant... Think Indiana Jones - Raiders Of The Lost Ark - Special Edition [DVD ] crossed with National Treasure [DVD] [2004 ] and Sahara [DVD ] set a couple of centuries ago. The 'McGuffin' is a seemingly ordinary medallion, which turns out to be the key to secrets which have not been seen for millennia. Everyone wants it and yet Ethan Gage, ordinary all-American boy, crack-shot, tomahawk wielder and erstwhile sidekick of Benjamin Franklin (no less) becomes its guardian and takes it with him, accompanying Napoleon on his invasion of Egypt.
Whilst you may eventually have to suspend your disbelief a little too far (keeping track of the number of famous people Gage just happens to bump into and leave with a favourable impression, for example) there's a pretty good time to be had here in this slick page-turner. Lots of gratuitous sex and violence too, which is slightly out-of-keeping with the 'Boy's Own' tone of the rest of the book.
If you just can't wait for more of the same, the ending sets us up for the sequel - The Rosetta Key (Ethan Gage 2) - and there is yet another adventure which follows this, The Dakota Cipher (Ethan Gage 3) .
For a start this is an outright period adventure. There's no contemporary plot or mere flashbacks to the past; from page 1 to the end the entire story is set in the 18th Century around Napoleon's invasion of Egypt, and it does a grand job of bringing both the period and the invasion to life. William Dietrich, a journalist, is both a gifted writer and a solid researcher. Napoleon's Pyramids is full of wonderful descriptive passages that evoke both Revolutionary France and pre-Colonial Egypt brilliantly, and solid factual detail regarding Napoleon's military escapades and the real-life characters caught up in them.
Around the evocative prose and various true events Dietrich then manages to weave a highly entertaining adventure story that both holds the reader's attention and keeps piling on the twists and surprises right up to the very end. In Ethan Gage he has created an affable, relatable hero; flawed but competent, tough but not super-human. The author also wisely avoids burdening Gage with unnecessary emotional baggage. This is a romp, and as such doesn't demand a tortured hero. Gage might be prone to self-doubt and have something of the rogue about him, but that's as far as any 'edge' goes. On the whole he remains a jocular, upbeat figure.
Many of the other characters are real life individuals, and they are generally well portrayed. The same could be said, but with some reservations, to go for the fictional supporting characters Dietrich inserts into the story. Dietrich certainly provides most of them with enough depth to satisfy the needs of the story.
The mystery that Gage gets caught up in is a pretty standard 'hunt the lost treasure using clues on ancient artefacts' affair, but Dietrich avoids too many cliches (or at least manages to make them feel reasonably fresh) and keeps the story moving and generally exciting. It also remains vaguely within the realms of plausibility and keeps you guessing as to the eventual outcome right up until the final few chapters. Action is frequent and varied, from chases on foot, to break-ins to mass battles on land and sea. Dietrich handles this side of things with aplomb, keeping events clear and dynamic.
If there are significant weaknesses they relate to the book's pacing and some characterisation. In the case of the former Dietrich encounters a problem that is common to many authors who try to hang a fictional plot on true events; that reality doesn't always unfold at a dramatically satisfying pace. Whilst Napoleon's invasion of Egypt included several great and exciting land and sea battles there was also quite a lot of hanging around time too. This results in Dietrich having to add some padding around the book's middle section to keep pace with events as they actually unfolded, which robs the story of some of its momentum.
In terms of characterisation having Gage act as narrator does have some negative impacts. The two key bad guys never really develop into more than sneering, moustache twirling matinee villains, a feeling exascerbated by the cliche that one is the outwardly respectable, haughty, aristocratic brains behind the operation and the other the swarthy local muscle. The good guys come off a little better, but still lack a bit of depth. A mutual love affair for example, feels under-developed as Gage as a character lacks the self-awareness necessary to identify his changing feelings and the first-person narration denies us woman's perspective entirely. Although the affair is signposted early on when it eventually blossoms it seems to do so from nowhere, rather than developing naturally and gradually.
Overall however, Napoleon's Pyramids is a consistently entertaining historical adventure than remembers that such things should, above all, be fun. By the time I reached its open ending I was very keen to pick up the follow-up Ethan Gage adventure The Rosetta Key (Ethan Gage 2) , which suggests that William Dietrich must have done something right.
Set in the lat 1790s the main character, and American, Ethan Gage, gets himself in a little trouble in post revolution France and joins Napoleon's expedition to Egypt as a savant.
As always there's a mysterious object in the mix, which has fallen into Gage's possession, and other people want it in the belief it will anoint them with mythical powers to be found in Egypt.
Gage, therefore, joins the expedition, finds himself in loads of trouble, makes friends and enemies along the way, and has to balance his desires with the safety of those around him.
It's historically accurate, it's tremendous fun in places and balances action with the historical events very well. On the downside, it was a little long, and Gage seems to have more lives than a cat, but surely that's the joy of such a book.
If you're looking for an historical romp, with loads of action, where the hero has to save the girl and the day, then look no further. The question is, does he manage it?
so purchased the two previous books, if you like adventure these books are for you.