You know how sometimes you come across a book you fall in love with? Then you search out previous works by the writer, devour them and are then left to tap your fingers waiting for their next book to be released? After reading The Many Lives of Samuel Beauchamp (one of my best books of 2013), Michael Siemsen became one of those writers for me and so I've been impatiently anticipating the publication of Return, the third book in his Matt Turner series.
For those not yet acquainted with Turner, he is a highly sensitive psychometrist; he has the ability to discover facts about people or events by touching inanimate objects.
As with the previous two books, Turner's talent is in demand and he is sent a request to read historical objects in order to find out what has been kept secret. Naturally the person wanting his help isn't asking for altruistic reasons and Turner's involvement is likely to put him in danger. The Matt Turner we meet in Return however, is very different from the man first introduced in The Dig and then follow again in The Opal. He has matured, has come to terms with his extraordinary gift and learned more about controlling it. This story alone is an exciting and often tense thriller but what really sets the book and indeed series apart is that we are treated to a second story, as we learn about the imprints Matt reads from the object. In this case he has a keystone from the Great Library of Alexandria and so we also follow the exploits of Patra, a female steward desperate to protect the scrolls held in the Library knowing an invasion from Rome presents a terrible danger to the citizens of Alexandria and the wealth of knowledge held there. What could be confusing works perfectly, the story switches from present to past and across the continents but the pace never lets up and any slight disappointment as the action moves away from a particularly tense moment soon dissipates as the reader is caught up in the next stage of the story.
There is always a worry when you love an author's books that this one will be the one you don't love. Happily this is not true for Return, it's an intelligent and exciting adventure that not only kept me turning the pages but also inspired me to read more about Ancient Egypt and some of the events and people portrayed in the book. If you haven't yet discovered Michael Siemsen and Matt Turner then I recommend you start with The Dig but rest assured Return is a treat to look forward to.
Meanwhile I'll be tapping my fingers again...!
Return is published by Fantome.