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2012: The Crystal Skull by Manda Scott

01/03/2012. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy 2012: The Crystal Skull in the USA - or Buy 2012: The Crystal Skull in the UK

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pub: Bantam Spectra. 451 page paperback. Price: $ 7.50 (US). ISBN: 978-0-440-24321-2).

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I started reading this book, ‘2012: The Crystal Skull’ by Manda Scott, expecting to see a fictional account of the end of the world. After all, the little factual book, ‘2012: Everything You Need To Know About The Apocalypse’ that I reviewed by her a couple months ago was spelling out the Mayan doom and gloom for the end of the year.

This book only looks at 2007 and the discovery of a limestone encased crystal skull in an underground cavern by Professors Stella and Kit O’Connor in the Yorkshire Dales. Things aren’t helped when someone else is also down there and Kit is badly injured. While he’s recovering, it is up to Stella to have the skull cleaned and put most of the puzzle together. To do this, she relies on her contacts in the old boys network of professors that she associates with.

Added to this mix is a second story back in 1556 where we follow Cedric Owen and his Spanish companion and swordsman, Fernandez de Aguilar, as they seek out the crystal stone or skull in South America and some deadly shenanigans when they are pursued when they arrive back in England. All of this is supposed to lead up to the point where the crystal skull is lost and where the O’Connors discover it.

However, with all the detail and detective like build-up up to the last few chapters, this is spoilt by a rushed ending for both parts of the story. I kept flicking back and forth, wondering what happened to lead characters that were quickly dismissed. It was as though Scott had realized that she had a large page count or imminent deadline and rushed the ending. Ultimately, I was left no wiser at the end. Worse, I’m still no wiser as to what would happen in a fictional or even our own reality in December 2012.

This is a shame really because the characters were, on the whole, rather interesting to read. The remedies to some of their problems were rather too easily sorted out and would make anyone wonder if they were reading Science Fiction or fantasy. I think it really it ends up more on the fantasy side.

I suspect the target audience of those seeking doom at the end of 2012 will buy this book but whether they will be happy is debatable. Read with care.

GF Willmetts

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