Napoleon's Pyramids was a wonderful book. It dealt with men of science going with Napoleon Bonaparte and his army into Egypt. A young man, Ethan Gage, who had Benjamin Franklin as a mentor, is one of those 'savants' to learn all about the mysteries of Egypt while Napoleon conquered his way like Alexander the Great tried. It was a fun fast read and open to a sequel.
To the delights of this series, here comes The Rosetta Key. It is as much fun, possibly more fun and exciting than the first book. With action that would make Indiana Jones green with envy, Ethan Gage goes on his quest to find the mysterious Book of Thoth, an ancient book that holds all the secrets of the world - immortality, being able to control people, weather, everything! Gage had lost his love interest, the beautiful priestess of Isis, Astiza, who went down with a mysterious but brilliant villain Silano. Gage doesn't know if they are alive or dead, but goes on his way to find the book.
The action is nonstop. Based on historical events, finding of the Rosetta Stone, and Napoleon coming to conquer the area in the name of France -
As you can imagine, the Rosetta Stone figures mightily in this book, and the Rosetta Stone is one of my favorite items - When I went to London the first time, light years ago, the Rosetta Stone was unprotected - I went reverently to it, and the guard said, 'Well, go ahead and touch it, it's just stone!' Yeah, right! Now the stone is covered in glass, but I'll always remember my first experience -
I am Greek, and it is great to be able to decipher some of the words in the Greek section of the stone. It was courtesy of the Ptolemy family that it was included in the stone. Cleopatra, the illustrious last Pharoah of the Ptolemy line, wanted to learn the ways of the ancients - They spoke Greek, but she took the pains to actually learn about her country. For that trouble, the world was able to learn to translate the Egyptian figures which had puzzled scholars - it was their key to lost lands!
Dietrich is having a lot of fun with this series, and interjects humor along with the adventures. The characters are wonderfully fleshed out and he has based the actions on the actual actions Napoleon did in Egypt, and on his way to conquer the world - hopefully trying to go towards India, like his idol, Alexander tried to do.
There are some resolutions, and there are more questions to be dealt with. I hope the next book is in the works - For those of us who like history in with our adventures, and lore of the Middle East, this is a great read for you. I think it gives a backstory, but if you want to be in on all the fun, try reading Napoleon's Pyramids first - you'll have double the fun.
Book review of The Rosetta Key by William Dietrich, ISBN 978-0-06-123955-7, HarperCollins Publishers, review by ellen george