Every now and again I come across a book I really enjoy. A Richer Dust Concealed is one of them.
There are lots of things I loved about this book, but I think the no 1 thing is the author’s story voice. I knew from the first page that I was in for a good read. John, our main protagonist, starts off by telling us he’s decided to use his excess time during lockdown to write a book about what happened to him years ago. I was smiling straight away at the way John was chatting to us. He comes across as an everyday kind of guy, the guy next door, not a hero, no definitely not a hero, just an ordinary man, with an extraordinary tale to tell.
The story really begins in 1570 in Cyprus, when an Italian squire bears witness to the hiding place of a priceless cross, named The Most Holy Cross of St Peter and St Paul. You see, that squire decides to keep a diary of the Turk invasion, and at the end of it, (in code) he writes the location of the artifact. During the horrors of the following years the cross remains hidden. Years later upon his release, the squire returns to Venice intent to disclose its whereabouts. Only, the Venetian Council of Ten want the relic for themselves, and so the squire doesn’t disclose his secret. Many years later in 1915, an English code-breaker is dispatched to Venice where he stumbles upon the squire’s diary and starts to translate it. He immediately sets out to try and break the code, but before he can, he is sent to Turkey, where unfortunately he dies. Whilst working on the book he keeps a journal, which becomes a series of love letters to his wife that gave hints about the code. Mysteriously, both the squire’s diary and the soldier’s journal are left behind in Italy.
And here enters our John, back-packing across Europe in 1992 with his friends. He turns up in an old book shop in Rome, and is offered the diary and the journal for a price he can’t really afford. Still, he is so eager to impress the fair Sarah that he purchases it on his credit card. In so doing, he has unwittingly drawn himself and his friends into an ancient treasure hunt, and into the realm of the Venetian Council of Ten.
The author has spent years researching for this book and you can tell. The research really pays off as the story is seeped with historical content which (alongside relatable characters) makes this novel so believable. This really is a book that Dan Brown fans will love. Besides the great characters – which are so realistic they could be your friends, the plot is clever without being too complicated or too pretentious. It’s like an everyday man’s adventure. There’s mystery and intrigue, a treasure hunt and danger, but most of all there’s real people and a true to life romance.
It is $3.99, but can also be read for free on Kindle Unlimited.
Review warning: Before you rush off and buy any book that someone reviews you should read the free sample chapters provided on Amazon, this way you can decide for yourself if this book is your cup of tea or not. Happy reading everyone!