Ethan Gage is the Great American Hero, the creation of author William Dietrich.
Paris, 1798. The Revolution and the terror of its aftermath have passed. Not yet dictator, Napoleon sets out to conquer Egypt, accompanied by scores of savants, the scientific elite of France, intending not only to thwart the British Empire’s designs on India, but to explore the mysteries of the Nile.
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Enter Gage. Former aide to Ambassador Benjamin Franklin. Crack shot with a long rifle. Gambler and ladies’ man. A good night at the card tables ends with our American hero the new owner of a mysterious medallion coveted by nefarious forces. Before daylight, he is accused of the murder of a prostitute and, without alternatives, he turns to his Masonic brothers for refuge. Instead, they offer him the chance to explore the pyramids of the pharaohs as part of the French invasion force.
I hesitate to even compare this to The DaVinci Code, but that’s going to be the natural comparison. Dan Brown’s phenomenon doesn’t even come close to this one. Dietrich has created a character for which you will want to root. The mysteries unravel in a way that is completely surprising. Robert Langdon’s riddles were so predictable it wasn’t funny. As for love interests, Ethan’s mysterious slavegirl/priestess is far more capable, more alluring, and, eventually, more devoted.
The historical pastiche, especially the psychological profile of Bonaparte and the battle strategy, makes Napoleon’s Pyramids a far superior book. And though one mystery is solved, the ending promises further Middle Eastern adventures for young Ethan Gage.
Napoleon’s Pyramids by William Dietrich
ISBN 9780060848323, Feb. 2007 HarperCollins (Hardcover) $24.95
Other books by William Dietrich:
Hadrian’s Wall: A Novel of Roman England (I loved it!) ISBN 9780060563721 (2004)
The Scourge of God: A Novel of the Roman Empire ISBN 9780060735081 (2005)