The Third Gate, by bestselling author Lincoln Child, is an unabashed adventure story, shot through with a hefty dose of the far-fetched. And what are adventures for, if not exploring the farfetched?
Wealthy treasure hunter Porter Stone is on a massive, top-secret project in the Sudd region of Sudan, searching for the undiscovered tomb of King Narmer, the pharaoh who united upper and lower Egypt. If you are like me and have forgotten your middle-school geography, the Sudd is a vast swamp created by the White Nile. It’s there that Stone has built an impressive hi-tech research center, staffed with swarms of experts—no small feat, what with the swamplands. Strange things begin to happen on the job, and there is increasing concern that perhaps the fabled Curse of Narmer (basically, a hieroglyphic version of “don’t disturb my grave, or you will all die horrible deaths”) is real.
Enter Jeremy Logan, an “enigmatologist” who deals with ghosts, psychic happenings, and other fringe-y things. Drama ensues! The reader gets a nice combination of real science, along with plenty of creepy ancient myth. Fortunately, the action only becomes truly over the top at the very end, and the author helpfully offers an explanation that more practical readers can latch on to.