With this being the second in the Cushing and Nevada Chronicles I would strongly recommend you read Easy Nevada and the Pyramid’s Curse first as it sets the stage. As a standalone, the book would probably work since the story is focused on the hunt for Cleopatra’s tomb; but, why deny yourself the fun of reading the first book.
Picking up from the last book, Easy and Candice have escaped the Khasmin (for now) and are following the clues to find Cleopatra’s Lost Tomb somewhere in the Sahara Desert (and the damned Khasmin aren’t far behind). There’s tons of action and adventure with lots of gun fights, daring escapes and dastardly deeds. I think I enjoyed the pacing in this one more than the first where they seemed to spend a bit too much time running around (and falling through floors) in the Pyramid.
In this episode, Easy and Candice are in a race to find the twelfth skull and they never really get a chance to catch their breath as they tumble from one misadventure to the next. There’s a frenetic energy in the book – both in the situations as well the characters – and lots of humour to keep a grin firmly planted on your face. As in the first book, Easy may not always have a plan, but she always has a comeback and Candice is more than capable of giving as good as she gets in the war of words. There’s an easy camaraderie building between the two as they learn to rely on each other. Or maybe it’s just Stockholm Syndrome – regardless, there’s a great chemistry between the two and Ms. Kaplan is continuing to expand the characters and motivations as the story progresses.
As the title suggests, this book focuses more on Candice as she struggles to come to terms with being dragged from her staid and scholarly excavation of a pyramid in Sudan to a breakneck race to find a mysterious treasure while being pursued by a rabidly determined group of terrorists. Candice comes more into her own as she’s less of a passive participant and taking a more active role in the hunt as well as in her dealings with Easy.
I have absolutely no idea how much
complete bullshit artistic licence Ms. Kaplan is taking with archaeology and history – and I really don’t give a damn. This is a Saturday afternoon matinee and Ms. Kaplan weaves such a charming and entertaining tale that my belief isn’t suspended as much as checked at the door. Crazy- ass, kick-ass, bad-ass … this book has it all and I want more. Especially as there’s enough hints and foreshadowing for the next book – and damnit, I want to know what the skulls are for (and where did they come from).
Unlike the fist book in the series, this one ends with a bit of a cliffhanger (noooooo … hating you, Ms. Kaplan) and the promise of the next book to be published in 2020 (loving you, Ms Kaplan if it is early 2020). Needless to say, I will be stalking the Ylva website for the next 12 months or so. Don’t let that deter you from starting (or continuing) the series. It’s a riot and a hell of a lot of fun.
Thank you to Ylva for an advance copy for review