a review by Nalini Haynes
Empire of Gold is an Indiana Jones-esque adventure romp. Eddie Chase and Dr Nina Wilde are an unlikely married couple who are obviously in love. Nina works for the IHA, a division of the United Nations concerned with preservation of archeological finds. Macy is on field placement with Nina as a junior archeologist. Kit is an Interpol officer looking after cultural artifacts, although a phone call early on calls in to question his true loyalties. More people join the team on each leg of the journey for various reasons.
Nina and her team are sent on a search for the third statue in a set of 3, which takes them to Glastonbury to visit King Arthur’s tomb and then to Venezuala. Events get somewhat out of hand in Venezuala, where the search entangles the group in local politics.
Empire of Gold is the seventh in the series but is written to enable it to be read as a stand alone book. However, I was sorely tempted to stop reading this one and go to the beginning of the series to catch up on all the detail I missed by starting with this book. Empire is an Indiana Jones type book (movies 1 to 3) but set in the 21st century with the lead characters who have obviously met, fallen in love and married through the course of the series. Also the two statues in Nina’s possession were found in previous books, and many of the characters have a history together.
Many writers can’t seem to manage to sustain a romantic relationship between two characters without descending into soapy-isms. I think McDermott manages to keep Eddie and Nina’s relationship out of the soapies and aims more at a Jadzia and Worf (Deep Space 9) or Sheridan and Delenn (Babylon 5) standard of relationship.
As in Indiana Jones, this book has unrealistic action scenes that are fast paced and tension building. Empire suffers from Red Shirt syndrome (“There must be 50 ways to kill an ensign…”), so by the time the second group of people join the team, I was thinking “Ensigns!” However, every story needs its ensigns except the A Team original series.
Overall an action packed roller coaster ride that will appeal to Indiana Jones and Matthew Reilly fans.
This article was previously published in Dark Matter issue 3, April 2011, and predated on this website to reflect the original publication date.