Nicolai Keeper works for a shadowy government agency as an assassin for hire. His only contact is ‘Mother,’ a matronly voice who feeds him instructions and provides help when he’s in trouble. Sent to kill a German double agent, Nicolai runs into a mob of Russian agents who also want the German dead. As he’s making his escape, he grabs a US diplomatic bag that was in the German’s possession, and that simple act marks him as a dead man. Only, it’s Mother who wants him dead.
Nicolai realizes that the contents of the pouch he’s taken are important, but when he opens it and reads the documents within, they are Greek to him—actually, Greek—and are in some strange code that he cannot decipher. When he contacts mother, he learns that he possesses the 13th Codex, a mysterious document that’s apparently so important, anyone with knowledge of it must die.
The 13th Codex by Liam North follows Nicolai from German to an isolated Greek tourist town to the Yucatan Peninsula, and finally, to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, where he somehow loses three years of his life, and his memory. A fast-paced thriller, this book will keep you on the edge of your chair as it whipsaws you from one exotic locale to another, with non-stop action, leavened slightly with the on-again, off-again romance Nicolai has with an aggressive Greek woman who has her own agenda.
The story ends on a speculative note, with many loose ends untied. Somewhat disappointing, given the expectations that the narrative has built up to that point. Despite this, I’m interested in what happens next, so I suppose the author knew what he was doing to end it this way.
The author gets high marks for his characterizations, larger-than-life people in unbelievable circumstances that still seem credible, and crisp, no-nonsense dialogue that pulls no punches. If the sequel to this story is as well done as this one, it’ll probably be worth the wait.
I received a free copy of this book.
I give this book four stars.