“Book Review: The Gates of Beyul”
Reviewed by Alexandria Ducksworth
An international adventure turns supernatural in this page-turning tale from J.C. Pater
Going stir-crazy at home? I’ve got just the antidote: J.C Pater’s The Gates of Beyul. Fans of Dan Brown and James Rollins will be delighted with this adventure, especially those with a bent for ancient history and the fantastical.
The story begins with explorers uncovering a female mummy in the Himalayas. The issue? She’s from medieval Europe. So what’s really going on here? How did she arrive? News of the astounding discovery spreads to historian Dr. Jenny Williams, who knows everything under the sun about medieval history, and who gladly accepts the mission to find out the truth.
Joined by a Kiwi mountaineer and her best friend, Jenny begins placing the mummy puzzle pieces together. But others want to uncover the mummy’s secrets, too. One person who calls himself “Professor” keeps an eye on Jenny’s whereabouts for his own purposes. And at the same time, a secret Basque society carries a centuries-old secret connected to the mummy.
The more we discover, the more confounding the story becomes. When the supernatural rears its head, we know that this mystery is two steps ahead of us—and the only way to satiate our desire for the truth is to keep on flipping pages.
J.C. Pater does a lot of things right, but the one I enjoyed the most has to be how vivid the historical details are. It’s clear the author knows the subject just as much as the brilliant protagonist does, which works on sending readers on an adventure where even the historical information keeps us intrigued.
The characters in this novel are also wonderfully likable. Jenny grows from a bit of an academic know-it-all to someone I deeply care for in the end. Having her lead us on this adventure brings us closer and closer to her and her true self. Brian (the Kiwi mountaineer) and Sonia (the best friend) also grow and add their own flare to the plotline.
Great historical research, a high-stakes international adventure, and brave and likeable characters prove to be the recipe for success for Pater’s The Gates of Beyul.
While our protagonists are likable, the Professor stands out as a bit too much of a one-dimensional antagonist to me. He enters kind enough, but his character begins to display rude, reckless, and quick-tempered behavior. Other than his desperate goal to retrieve the Himalayan mummy, we don’t know much about him to make him feel as strong of characters as our leads.
Still, The Gates of Beyul is a unique international adventure story with a whole lot to love. It’s not another tale about a group unlocking secret codes in dusty, old crypts; it’s much more than that. So I’m left wondering, “What’s next for her and her friends?” Let’s just hope that Pater has more novels with Jenny Williams waiting for us, because I know the world could use more strong, intelligent female adventurers like her.
Genre: Mystery Action & Adventure
Print Length: 321 pages
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