The 34th Degree
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". . .a “DaVinci Code” for WWII enthusiasts.
This latest work from New York Times Bestselling author, Thomas Greanias is, unfortunately, not up to par with his truly thrilling novel, The Promised War.
Beginning in 1943, in Meteora Greece, readers are taken into a monastery where a certain monk resides. This particular man was a well-known killer/soldier/warrior at one point in his life, but has since renounced his past faith and decided to live out a quiet existence in Greece. Not only is he residing here to change his ways and his life, but there is also something else within the monastery’s walls that he “looks out for.” An ancient treasure called the Marantha Text calls the monastery home, and the Nazi’s are simply dying to get their hands on it. When a Nazi referred to as the “Baron of the Black Order” comes to the monastery with his illustrious soldiers and rips it apart stone by stone to find the prize, they not only get the powerful text, but they also destroy everyone who has fought so hard to hide it.
Now, this Baron is not what you would call a “regular” Nazi. This is a man of style and class who wants nothing to do with Hitler’s ridiculous imagination and The Fuhrer’s belief in mysticism. The Baron is only interested in war, death, and making a deal that will have him sitting in the Fuhrer’s chair.
Soon the reader is transported to the present where San Deker enters into the picture. Sam is a man who has been through the proverbial “wringer” where the government is concerned. He has been part of a sleep study for a long time, with doctors trying to figure out why the poor man sees “images” that he couldn’t possibly see, considering those images go back to a time in history when Sam wasn’t even born. In fact, Sam still remembers himself to be a warrior in Jericho, where a fatal bomb was dropped on his girlfriend, Rachel.
Soon the FBI arrives, and all sorts of doctors, and a plan is put into place that will have actual ‘slices of brains’ inserted into Sam Deker’s head, in order for him to see the past and extract information regarding an ancient text that will help the U.S. Government. By doing this, Sam is actually released into a type of “virtual” world, where he has no idea what is real and what is illusion.
Readers then follow Sam into the past where the Baron resides, as well as a shipping magnate by the name of Andros who is working to stop the Nazi’s from building everything from a “Sword of Fire Warhead,” to discovering the Atlantean myth of “Green Fire,” which will allow them to construct the first bomb, and find out the secret ingredient that would one day become napalm. The writer goes into an extremely detailed story that includes everything from Churchill to a British professor who was a part of the OSS ‘spy game’ back in the 40’s when he helped crack the Nazi’s secret Enigma codes. Also included are bogus texts, Hitler’s obsession with astrology, and a young woman named Aphrodite who plays into the Baron’s life, as well as young Mr. Andros who was once her fiancé.
Yes, the story sounds exciting – a “DaVinci Code” for WWII enthusiasts. Unfortunately, there are so many chapters that are simply filled with paragraph after paragraph describing where troops will land, who will take right flank, who will take left, what beach the U.S. will invade, what the numbers will be – that at times the book becomes a “war log” and not an actual suspense thriller.
For a novel that boasts so many titillating and remarkable feats, chills, and spy games, it is incredibly difficult to get through.
Reviewer: Amy E. Lignor