Author – Dean Crawford
Published – 2011
Genre – Adventure / Thriller
Covenant is the debut novel from Dean Crawford, a Surrey-based author. The hardback was published in October 2011 and the paperback will be out on 10 November 2011.
How do I begin to describe this book? Well it’s quite long (almost 700 pages) and pretty much all of those pages are action packed. The story has multiple threads and the action takes place in both the USA and Israel / Palestine. The main thread of the story is the disappearance of Lucy Morgan, an American paleontologist, last seen in a restricted area of the Negev desert in Israel. Lucy has been investigating a dig-site independently and found remains and “whatever it is, it didn’t evolve on this planet”. Unfortunately there’s a peace treaty about to be signed to bring stability to the area, and the authorities are reluctant to get involved, so Lucy’s grandfather persuades war correspondent and ex-Marine Ethan Warner to help. Warner is a troubled man, though, and has his own agenda when it comes to visiting the Middle East.
Coincidental (or is it?) to Lucy’s disappearance, three bodies are found in an abandoned house in Washington DC, apparently the result of a drugs overdose, but the investigating officers aren’t so sure. Toxic fumes from one of the bodies which hospitalise a surgeon during the autopsy only increase their suspicions that all is not what it seems.
There’s also an evangelical preacher, a Senator who has his sights set on the White House, and a mysterious military organisation called MACE.
Warner is our action hero – accompanying Lucy’s mother to Israel he soon gets on the wrong side of the authorities there and plenty of action ensues – car chases, fights, explosions, aerobatics. Warner is determined in his quest to find Lucy, though, and bring those responsible for her capture to some sort of justice. Some of the action is pretty brutal and described in graphic detail.
For me the characters were a little lacking in depth, in Crawford’s defense there were a lot of characters, but there are a few more main ones who could have done with more development. Warner himself was an odd mix of violent and sensitive.
The language at times is a little flowery, especially considering the subject matter and I think I would have expected something a bit more masculine and down-to-earth from this author & in this genre.
I found the main premise of the book an interesting one, and something which I think will see me having a search on Google to find out more. It all made sense at the time, but I’m curious to know how much of the background Crawford provided is based in fact – or if I’m on Google “fact”.
It’s no surprise that Crawford counts Michael Crichton and Wilbur Smith amongst his favourite reads, but I would hazard a guess that he’s also read some Clive Cussler. And I noticed at least one nod to Indiana Jones too. A fun read with a complex plot and plenty of action.
Score – 3/5 (or 3.5 if I allowed half marks )