The Belial Stone by R.D. Brady

The Belial Stone Book Cover The Belial Stone

Archaeologists
Three Dog Publishing
June 14, 2013
Kindle Unlimited
424

An innocent discovery on a Montana ranch two years ago, sets off a series of events that may very well change the world . . . if it doesn't end it first. Professor Delaney McPhearson's life is turned upside down when her best friend, archaeologist Drew Masters, is found dead. Before she can deal with the heartbreaking loss, she is viciously attacked in her home by a man with inhuman fighting abilities.

Former Navy SEAL and head of security for a global think tank, Jake Rogan drops everything when he hears his foster brother Tom Jeffries has gone missing. There seem to be no clues, no information about his whereabouts. He has just vanished. But Jake won't rest until he finds him. Laney and Jake join forces when they learn that the fates of their loved ones are intertwined. And somehow all the danger that dogs their steps, revolves around an eccentric archaeologist's controversial work on Gobekli Tepe, and the search for an ancient source of power.

Their personal quest soon becomes a race to protect humanity's very existence. But how can they defeat a foe who has been planning his moves for millennia? To save mankind, Laney and Jake know they must succeed. But to succeed, they must live long enough to fight.

3 stars out of 5

There is something comforting in a formula, especially when you have a lot going on and just want to decompress with a book rather than analyze every word. I often call it fluff reading, something I have done a lot of since my son was born ten months ago. “The Belial Stone” is not remarkable in the sub genre of archaeological thrillers. You won’t find anything revolutionary here, it sits firmly in the shadow of stories like “The DaVinci Code”, “The Relic”, and “Last Templar”. That being said, I did enjoy it quite a bit as a diversion.

The characters are not really complex. R.D. Brady attempted to add some complexity and mystery, but ultimately missed. The bad guys are selfish, evil, and bad in every way. The good guys are good without fail. Jake is willing to drop everything and believe almost anything to find his brother. Laney will get justice for her friend, even if it kills her. Those on the side of the light have no qualms about risking everything to save each other as well as strangers. The cast of characters is fairly dynamic and includes a warrior priest who specializes in religious archaeology, a hyper-intelligent teenage boy, and a lovable, mysterious giant who knows more about what is going on than he is telling (If you pay attention to the not subtle foreshadowing, you will likely guess why, even if it is not resolved by the end of the book). A few other characters show up to entertain, but I don’t want to spoil those who don’t wish to be spoiled.

I found the characters enjoyable through most of the story. Some of them have their moments. Jake is a bit more macho than I like prefer male leads. He has a protective streak that he cannot help but focus on Laney, the resident damsel in distress. He is not alone. All of the male characters, save for the baddies, feel a strong need to protect her. Jake actually comes to the realization that she needs protecting shortly after they meet, despite the obvious fact that she could hold her own in a fight with some mad martial arts skills. The inevitable and predictable romance springs up too quickly and feels a bit forced.

R.D. Brady plays with and mixes together two different mythologies. The story of Atlantis, and Christian myths. She does it beautifully and presents enough theoretical evidence to make it seem plausible.  My only nitpick is that all of the characters talk about, or accept, fringe archaeological theories as if they were well known facts. I love reading “Ancient Aliens” style theories, but it wouldn’t hurt to throw in a “Some people believe…” every once in a while. I found myself thinking “I’ve never heard of that,” a few times when sites I had read or watched documentaries came up. Being the curious sort, I left the story for a bit to look it up. Still, I was ultimately a fan of the archaeological bread crumbs strewn throughout the story.

The eBook is only 4.99 on Amazon and is a Kindle Unlimited story, so it also makes it into my list of decent bargain books. If you want a fun beach or airport read, or something to chill on the couch with, this is definitely a book to consider. If you are looking for something unpredictable that makes you think about each clue, look elsewhere.

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