I got my degree in archaeology. Despite this, the Indiana Jones franchise has two of my favorite movies of all time. So, clearly, I’m not much of a stickler for authenticity in my fiction. Stretching the bounds of what happens in the real world is perfectly acceptable for me. Spin me a good yarn, and I’ll forgive the shortcuts.
But I absolutely detest the expert who is equally well-versed in all things. You know the type. CSI popularized this, with their forensics experts engaging in all levels of police work: from field work, to lab work, to interrogating suspects….
So a book about a history professor who’s also an expert in….everything, apparently, hired by a wealthy and world-renown archaeologist (he discovered Camelot!) to help uncover the mysteries of the Egyptian pharaoh who unified the Kingdom? I don’t know if that’s up my alley, but I’m willing to give it a shot.
And ugh, was it not up my alley.
This is the third Jeremy Logan adventure. After a one chapter cameo in Deep Storm and a more prominent secondary role in Terminal Freeze, Logan takes the lead here in The Third Gate. And I don’t think the series has improved because of it. He’s just the blandest protagonist. There’s really no discernible difference between him and the protagonists in the two preceding books, apart from their names, I guess. But I don’t even remember the names of the other two guys, so who knows?
Deep Storm was a fairly engaging but light read about the purported discovery of Atlantis beneath the North Atlantic sea floor. The follow-up was less engaging, more fantastical, overly reliant on tropes and formula, and had no connection to the preceding book apart from the series’s titular character.
The Third Gate is….well, uninteresting. Maybe it’s just me, but three chapters in, and I felt like I could’ve written the book myself. Maybe not as capably (Child’s prose is sturdy if not flashy), but I could’ve hit all the same points.
Logan, freelancing as an enigmologist-cum-historian. Enigmology (not to be confused with enigmatology) is an invented term for the scientific pursuit of the supernatural. Jeremy Logan is a professor of medieval history at Yale during the day, but he spends his free time chasing lost Egyptian pharaohs, the Loch Ness monster, and (presumably) unicorns.
Whereas Deep Storm was a fairly taught techno-thriller, The Third Gate feels like a cheap National Treasure adventure. Not even Indiana Jones, this feels more like it could be turned into a Nic Cage movie.
I don’t now if I’ll continue the series. It’s downward trajectory isn’t promising, especially given it’s fairly pedestrian pedigree. If you start off as a serviceable thriller, you can’t afford to sacrifice serviceability or thrills. Both are largely absent, here.
But, I didn’t hate it. So that’s….good?