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The Chamber Of Ten

01/02/2011. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy The Chamber Of Ten in the USA - or Buy The Chamber Of Ten in the UK

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The Chamber Of Ten by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon. pub: Bantam Dell. 369 page paperback. Price: $ 7.99 (US), $ 9.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-553-38656-1).

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I had no great hopes for ‘The Chamber Of Ten’. The previous ‘Hidden Cities’ novels were variable in their appeal. In this one, I think Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon have got the balance right. The slightly Dan Brownish cover sets the tone for the mystery at the heart of Venice. I’m not sure the final chapter is a slap-bang finish but the journey through the book is worthwhile. The story requires your attention and rewards your interest.

My lasting impression is less of a desire to visit Venice than previously. It certainly conjured up the stink of the canal and the unsanitary back-streets. I’m not sure the tourist board will be grateful.

Geena Hodge, an archaeologist based in Venice, is trying her best to preserve as much as she can in the rapidly sinking city. Nico and Geena are lovers that much we know. He is her student and although she tried to resist him, there is an attraction that transcends the physical. She can feel his thoughts and this psychic connection proves to be the centre of the novel’s plot. The discovery of a hidden chamber looks like a coup for the team Geena leads. The BBC is interested in her project and has sent a producer over to start the filming process. Everybody is very excited about the hidden chamber and what might be contained there but they are not prepared for the devastating events that follow. Flooding and destruction are only the first part of the nightmarish result. Something has been released, something that wants Nico.

What follows is a well developed and interesting adventure which has plenty of arcane magic, tombs and possession. Whilst I didn’t feel that this was an exceptionally deep novel, it was certainly an excellent and fun read. It manages to eliminate the often ghastly exposition found in similar books. There was plenty of detail about the environment, sketching in historical moments without dragging the swift pace.

Sue Davies

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This book has 12 votes in the sci-fi charts

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