Most of us know very little about China and while The Emperor’s Tomb is a novel author Steve Berry provides a glimpse into the past, long history of this great nation. This serves as the backdrop as the main characters struggle to wrest control of the vast country. Mystery and intrigue are a direct theme and in many places I was not sure who the “real” bad guys were.
I guess the best way for me to describe this is Raiders of the Lost Ark meets Jason Bourne meets Dr. Evil (without the humor). It became obvious that this novel was preceded by others as they referred to past relationships and the Cotton Malone character must be the recuring hero. I didn’t feel that this detracted from the story, but probably would have helped. That’s the problem with starting in the middle of a series, but I found the story to build in intensity and once I became comfortable with the characters, captivating.
I found three things interesting in the story. Steve Berry provides a lot of information on the history of China and protection of that information. However, when writing about dates, he ignores history and chose to use BCE (Before Common Era) rather than the traditional BC (Before Christ).
The second issue is whether crude oil is created by the decomposition of organic matter (i.e. dinosaurs) as we were all taught. I had heard pundits claim that oil is perhaps a product of very deep processes in the Earth, but I had generally ignored those claims. It is an intriguing theory that bears some investigation.
And finally I was drawn to the discussions about the burial site of the “first emperor.” It was discovered that his tomb was protected by hundreds of life-sized warriors. Known as the terracotta warriors they are an impressive sight.