Review of “The Stolen Papyrus” by Cate Turner

Categories Book Reviews

It’s every archaeologist’s dream to explore the hidden tombs of Egypt. Unfortunately for me, my dream turns into a nightmare when Xander Harrison, a childhood friend who betrayed me, joins my team.
I came to Egypt to study the ancient past, not to be confronted with my own.”

I love Egypt, I’ve travelled there many times. Not so much in the recent past, sadly. Which is why I’m forever looking for stories that can transport me across to the Nile (and the Red Sea).

“The Stolen Papyrus” is the latest story I read on the theme. It is written by an author friend of mine. We started together on Wattpad, and she shot out of the trad publishing gate faster than I did. Or will do (manuscript is now back from Chief Editor, which is good news).

But this is not about me, it’s about a pretty unique Romantic Adventure. The author labels the story as a clean romance – which it is as well – and good job too. I’m not into the really high heat levels, even if I can take a bit more. So, clean it is, but sweet it is not. I had a good giggle over the two protagonists who are deeply buried in the excavation trenches the author has dug for them.

They hate each other, and I found that an interesting premise. How would those two ever get together? Cue – they were attracted before when they were younger. So there is some basis to build on which the author puts to good usage.

The other element, of course, is the archaeological element which our two protagonists have in common.

The meet-cute is a hoot – Leila flies in with a helicopter, and it blows sand on Xander’s precious dig. Well, she isn’t piloting the heli, nor is she its only passenger, but of course chappie takes it personally.

Their relationship goes downhill from there, but they are forced to work together to find the lost tomb of a Queen. No, not Nefertiti or Cleopatra. The author did me a real favour and avoided the well-known tropes. Instead, she went for the Middle Kingdom. The research is solid as far as I can see (I’m no expert on the matter, but I have read enough Amelia Peabody to have at least an inkling of what might work).

Throw plenty of mystery into the mix – how did Leila’s father really die, what is it with the vanishing Bibles and who the heck is the dark guy in the picture with Leila’s father? and you get a solid mystery adventure set in my favourite place.

I enjoyed reading it, and I also enjoyed that somebody went to some bother with the copy edits. I’ve got too many books recently where this was not the case, and no, it’s not just the indie authors who are to blame. Indie authors have my respect, and I’m willing to forgive more bloopers than I would with a trad-pubbed novel.

Readers looking for the typical romance novel might not agree with me – it is NOT typical, the focus is on the adventure, rather than the romance. The share is not even 50/50, I would say. For me, that worked just fine.

I would like to see more books breaking the mold. Do we really all have to write formula to win? Are there no readers out there willing to try something slightly different? Pretty please with sugar on top?

If you are interested in getting your book reviewed (on Goodreads and in my blog, with Twitter promotions), please leave a response in the blog or contact me on twitter under the handle @lhansenauthor. I will be honest but kind. If I really should not like your book, I will not post a review – and tell you why.

The Editing Files will continue – I just had some health issues recently. However, I plan to set up a review service, perhaps even participate in blog tours. We shall see. There are only 24 hours in a day…

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