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Covenant by Dean Crawford

Humanity has always believed it is the only intelligent species of life in the universe.

But while excavating in Israel, an archaeologist unearths a tomb that has remained hidden for 7,000 years. Inside lies a secret of such magnitude that the story of mankind is instantly rewritten – and its future thrown into terrible danger.

Only one man can piece history back together again. Only one man will risk everything to prevent a catastrophe that could tear the world apart. 

That man is Ethan Warner.

I always envisaged that putting together a decent thriller novel is much like making a cake. There is a recipe that outlines all the key ingredients that need to be included to make it turn out perfectly. The instructions would probably read something like this. Start with a slightly jaded hero, if you can get one who has a troubled past so much the better. Add a couple of dashes of political intrigue and, if you have it, a sprinkling of potentially controversial subject matter. Mix well with a secondary narrative that will eventually shed additional light on the first, then after around six hundred pages you’ll have an ideal thriller.

Covenant is a pretty good example of this mix of ingredients. There is plenty of action and the plot zips along at a decent pace. Crawford’s debut novel certainly feels like an entertainingly solid read. It’s the sort of thing that I can easily lose myself in for a couple of hours at a time.

Ethan Warner is a far more realistic protagonist than you tend to come across in many other novels of this type.  When he is first introduced he has just suffered a beating and has a hangover. He fits into the slightly flawed category quite nicely. I have to admit that I do sometimes get a bit sick of heroes in thrillers who win every single fight they are in. It’s nice to find a character that isn’t perfect. This sort of detail certainly makes it far easier to empathize. Ethan is ex military and now makes a living as an investigative journalist, you quickly get the sense that he has fallen on hard times. He is offered the chance to get his life back on track when he is tasked with leading a group on the hunt for a missing archaeologist deep in Israel’s Negev desert.

Meanwhile over six thousand miles away, in Washington DC, a gruesome multiple homicide is discovered by local police officers. Lucas Tyrell and Nicola Lopez are the two detectives who are unwittingly thrown into the middle of a mystery that will have wide reaching consequences for them both. The good news is that their chapters of the story are as entertaining as those that feature Warner.

Neither set of events appears to be linked to one another but as the plot unfolds it becomes clear that there is a much bigger conspiracy developing. How are these two seemingly unrelated events connected and who is behind them? Crawford does a good job of slowly weaving these disparate strands together while managing to leave enough questions unanswered that guarantee you will continue to read.

Overall reading Covenant is a similar experience to discovering the pilot episode of a new television show. The story acts as a fitting set up for the main characters and there is a definite sense that now they have come together a larger journey is about to begin. This is a good start and shows a great deal of potential. I’ll be looking out for more of this author’s work in the future.

Covenant is released on 11 November 2011 from Simon & Schuster.  A sequel, Elixir, is due out in May 2012.


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