“An old friend summons dashing linguistics professor Thomas Lourds to Jerusalem to examine an ancient text. But Irans Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also wants the same document. Khamenei and many others believe that the book contains a secret that will allow its owner to rule all of Islam and wage a Global Jihad the likes of which has never been seen before.
Arriving in Jerusalem, Lourds discovers that his friend has been murdered and his apartment ransacked. With the help of Miriam Abata, a beautiful Iranian-American Jewish graduate student, he races against the clock to seek the dangerous document: Lourds seeks to save civilization while his enemies hope to destroy it.”
Thoughts: Simply put, The Temple Mount Code is one of those forgettable conspiracy thrillers that are inexplicably popular while simultaneously trivializing all of the excellent thrillers that do exist. Thomas Lourds is the most awful type of protagonist – cocky, headstrong, self-righteous, smarmy, and slightly misogynistic in his relationships with women. For Charles Brokaw fans, this third Lourds novel follows the same formula as the previous two. Lourds finds something big through his unsurpassed linguistics knowledge. He is called upon by a long-time best friend, with whom coincidentally he has not spoken in several years, to solve something even bigger, since only he is intelligent enough to break the hidden code. He sleeps with every woman with whom he interacts. There are lots of explosions and gun fights. There is a remote possibility something bad might happen to Lourds, but it is over in the blink of an eye and he walks away with the prize virtually unscathed leaving ruin trailing behind him. Then the story is easily forgotten. This format should be familiar to anyone who has ever read a conspiracy theory novel after The Davinci Code first became popular.
The story itself is decent. The plotting is fast-paced, and there is just enough minor character development to make things interesting. The issue with The Temple Mount Code and the entire Code series is Thomas Lourds. He is supposed to be like a modern-day Indiana Jones, complete with trademark hat, but he comes across as nothing more than a self-aggrandizing asshat. The treatment of women in these stories is disturbing. Yes, they might be intelligent, capable, and, in the case of The Temple Mount Code, even quite lethal, yet they invariably end up losing their clothes in the melee as hapless victims and then voluntarily dropping their clothes for Lourds. Every. Single. One. James Bond he is not, although one could question Mr. Brokaw’s attempt to mold Lourds in Bond’s image as much as possible without infringing on any copyright issues.
The Temple Mount Code and stories of its ilk really are better suited for the male persuasion. As a female reader, I could accept Lourds’ conceit one time only. In reading this latest book in the series, it became too much to ignore and seriously detracted from my enjoyment of the overall novel. The entire plot took a backseat to how ridiculous Lourds’ character truly is. The saving grace is that The Temple Mount Code, like all the rest of the series, are extremely easy reads and require very little time and effort to complete. That being said, readers who like action-adventure stories with very little character development or even required thinking should give The Temple Mount Code a try.
Acknowledgements: Thank you to Forge Books for my review copy.