Tag: Da Vinci Code

Alex Connor – The Rembrandt Secret | Review

Title: The Rembrandt Secret

Author: Alex Connor

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 553

Rating: 8/10

 

Alex Connor - The Rembrandt Secret

Alex Connor – The Rembrandt Secret

 

I should start this review by mentioning the weird reason behind why I read this book in the first place – I have a friend called Alex Connor, and so when I saw posters for this book plastered along the London Underground, I knew I had to get a copy. I let it stew for a while, and a couple of years later I saw it in a charity shop – the rest, as they say, is history.

That said, while you might be quick to dismiss it as a Da Vinci Code rip-off, especially because of the title, it’s actually not that bad – in fact, I found it somehow more engaging than the Da Vinci Code, perhaps because it seems like there’s more talk and less action, which enables the author to flesh out her characters and make them seem real.

Broadly speaking, the story-line follows the son of a murdered art dealer as he tries to uncover the truth about his father murders, stirring up the hornets nest along the way. You see, it turns out that Rembrandt had a bastard, and he had the child’s mother sectioned to keep her away from him – the child, meanwhile, grew in to a prodigy, and he painted much of Rembrandt’s work for him.

 

Alex Connor

Alex Connor

 

As you can imagine, such a revelation would totally disrupt the art world – prices for Rembrandts would drop dramatically, and nobody would really know what to believe any more. So what if there was proof? Well, it just so happens that there is, and the novel follows Marshall as he tries to decide just what to do with it. In some ways, that causes a moral dilemma, because his father loved the art world and Marshall could bring it down almost single-handedly, if he wants to.

As always, I’m n0t going to risk spoiling the ending, but I can tell you that there’s a surprise in order when the mastermind of the murders is eventually revealed, and there are enough twists and turns throughout the novel to keep you guessing until the end. In fact, if anything, you could argue that the ending is too sudden, because it’s almost like one final twist in a series of twists, a subtle ending rather than a fanfare-blowing declaration that the author has ran out of paper.

My only real problem, though, is something that I’ve mentioned multiple times already – it’s simply very difficult to write about the Rembrandt Secret without somehow comparing it to the Da Vinci Code. I think that this novel could well be overshadowed by its predecessor, and that’s a shame because I, for one, preferred it. If you only read one of the two of them then you should read this for sure.

Final thoughts? One of my colleagues raised a good point, when he asked me if I’d prefer to read the real history of Rembrandt, rather than to read a fictional one. I’ve thought on it, and I’ve decided that I made the right choice – I was never in to paintings anyway, but if anything, I’m more in to them now. A non-fiction book would’ve scared me off – this was entertaining enough to keep me hooked.

 

Rembrandt

Rembrandt

 

Click here to buy The Rembrandt Secret.

 


Dan Brown – Deception Point | Review

Title: Deception Point

Author: Dan Brown

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 585

Rating: 6/10

 

Dan Brown - Deception Point

Dan Brown – Deception Point

 

Ah, wonderful – another ridiculously long review to write about a Dan Brown novel. Deception Point is one of his ‘minor’ works, written and published way before the Da Vinci Code and featuring a different set of characters to the ones that are featured in the Robert Langdon series.

Broadly speaking, it’s about a meteorite that’s discovered that could hold proof that aliens exist, and the subsequent attempts by [spoiler removed] to recover it to stop the discovery from going public. Sounds good, right? Yeah, well maybe it would have been at half the length.

I’m not saying that Brown’s writing is tedious to read – far from it, it’s the equivalent of easy-listening music and it’s true that you feel smart when you plough through 100 pages in an hour. It’s just that, in this case, the story seemed to go on forever – while he’s noted for his twists and turns, there were too many here with no substantial story line to carry them along.

 

Dan Brown

Dan Brown

 

Yet despite all this, it’s still a good read if you compare it to the other books that you’re likely to get in an airport’s W.H. Smith – just don’t buy it from Waterstone’s, there’s so much more out there that you could be reading instead.

It is, at least, suspenseful, and it keeps you guessing right until the end. You can’t trust anyone, which gives each of the characters an extra dimension that they wouldn’t otherwise possess. It just drags on, it really does – by the end, you’re almost angry at Rachel Sexton (the protagonist) for surviving.

I still have a couple of three hundred words to write so, like Dan Brown, I’m going to pad this thing out by talking about the cover. I’ll give it its due – it’s eye-catching and appealing, and just abstract enough to relate to the contents of the book without being too explicit. I like that.

 

Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon

Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon

 

And here’s a little known fact about Dan Brown – between graduating from university in the mid 80s and writing his first novel ten years later, Brown dabbled in music and pursued a career as a popstar. He released an album of children’s music that sold several hundred copies, and then formed his own record label to release a second album of contemporary music for adults.

In fact, in 1994, Brown released an album called ‘Angels and Demons‘ which used the ambigram that was later used for the novel of the same name for its artwork. He even moved to Hollywood to pursue a career, teaching classes at a prep school to support himself.

It’s not for me to tell you what to read – if you’re a Dan Brown fan then by all means, go and read and enjoy Deception Point. If, like me, you’re just a regular reader, skip it and go for one of the more mainstream books – Angels and Demons is probably the best one of the lot.

But if you only read one book every year, don’t make it this one – that’d be like having porridge for your last meal. Be extravagant, choose a good book that will broaden your horizons and make you look at the world in a new way. Choose Charles Bukowski or Irvine Welsh. Choose anyone, just don’t choose Dan Brown – you’ll thank me in the long run. But if you’re like me and you read a dozen books a month then go for it.

 

Charles Bukowski - Read him instead...

Charles Bukowski – Read him instead…

 

Click here to buy Deception Point.

 


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