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The Alexander cipher

1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Grand Central Pub., 2009.
Physical Description:
320 pages ; 24 cm
Series title(s):
Number in series:
"A debut, rip-roaring archeological thriller about the search for the lost tomb of Alexander the Great "--Provided by the publisher.


Call Number

On Order



Daniel Knox's first love is archaeology, more specifically Alexander the Great. In this adventure, he competes with rival archaeologists, Egyptian officials, and Macedonian nationalists in the hunt for one of the greatest archaeological prizes in the world.

Author Notes

Will Adams worked as a shop salesman, painter & decorator, warehouse porter and microfiche technician, before joining a Washington DC-based firm of business history consultants. He wrote a series of corporate histories and biographies for them, taking time off between projects to travel in search of exotic settings for his stories. More recently, he worked for a London communications agency, but he now concentrates on writing fiction full-time. He lives in Essex, England.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Daniel Knox, a dive instructor and former archeologist, is just one of many characters searching for Alexander the Great's lost tomb in British author Adams's less than suspenseful debut. Aboard a dive boat in the Red Sea, Knox goes against his better judgment and rescues an attractive young blonde from the clutches of wealthy Hassan al-Assyuti, who's intent on rape and battery. Knox must then go on the run, leaving him barely enough time to fall in love with Gaille Bonnard, a demotic language expert working on a dig connected to Alexander in northern Egypt. In Alexandria, construction manager Mohammed el-Dahab has stumbled on a necropolis that will eventually point all the competing searchers toward Alexander's actual tomb. Thriller fans with an interest in Egyptology and Alexander will find much to like, while those seeking swift action and adventure will find themselves bogged down in too many subplots and historical factoids. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Apparently everybody hates Daniel Knox, an American archaeologist turned dive instructor who is currently living in Egypt. There's the nasty Hassan, his rich Egyptian boss, whom Daniel beat up in order to keep him from raping a young woman, and Hassan's even nastier head of security, Nessim. There's Gaille Bonnard, the Egyptologist who blames Daniel for the death of her father, and Nicolas Dragoumis, the wealthy industrialist whose own father seems oddly determined to ruin Daniel. Further complicating Daniel's life is, of all people, Alexander the Great, the Macedonian king who proves that being dead for 2,300 years doesn't mean you still can't wreak havoc in people's lives. After Alexander's death, in 323 BCE, his body was brought to Egypt in a massive golden funeral carriage; Alexander's power-hungry general, Ptolemy, stole Alexander's body for his own purposes, and the funeral carriage vanished. Daniel thinks he knows where the carriage is, but that pales in comparison to a new discovery: artifacts that might point the way to the long-lost body of Alexander himself. All Daniel, a lifelong Alexander scholar, needs to do is keep clear of all the people who are out to get him long enough to solve the mystery. This is a hugely entertaining thriller, very much in the vein of Matthew Reilly: an adroit mixture of action, character, and history. Daniel and his plucky Australian partner, Rick, make for an engaging pair of heroes, and the author does an excellent job of keeping the story moving at a brisk clip while giving us all the historical background we require to understand what all the fuss is about. There's also a nice romantic subplot, and one or two smartly constructed twists. Surprisingly, considering its high quality, this is Adams' first novel. It was published in the UK in November 2007, and its sequel, The Exodus Quest, in November '08. North American readers of Cipher will eagerly await the arrival here of Quest.--Pitt, David Copyright 2009 Booklist

Library Journal Review

In a welcome respite from the glut of Christendom-shattering, artifact-protecting, Secret Order thrillers, debut author Adams offers up something new. A cobbled-together team-a Greek archaeologist, her French assistant/language specialist, and quasi-corrupt Egyptian antiquities officials-finds a clue that, when deciphered, leads them to the real tomb of Alexander the Great. Here's the twist-the whole operation is funded by a wealthy Macedonian nationalist who will use Alexander's body to mobilize his compatriots to wage war against Greece for sovereignty. Rival archaeologist Daniel Knox is our misunderstood action hero and romantic lead in the style of Indiana Jones and Dirk Pitt, fractionally more skilled at eluding peril than becoming ensnared in it. Adams racks up a generous body count; some victims we have grown to like. The violence is graphic and the language at times coarse, though commensurate with the world of baksheesh, graft, and unchecked power depicted here. Not literature, but a plausible, fun heist-thriller that compels the reader to wonder, What if? Recommended for most popular fiction collections. [Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/08.]-Laura A.B. Cifelli, Ft. Myers-Lee Cty. P.L., FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.