A finely polished amalgam of action and intrigue…
Past and present clash in the outstanding debut from Jones, a tale about the triumph of good over evil. After blowing the whistle on a fraudulent scheme at an Italian bank in London, Tom Talbot’s world is turned upside down. Trying to unravel the conspiracy, Tom sets for Bank’s headquarter in Florence. Meanwhile, the hot-shot New York City Lawyer, Miranda Maddingley is also in Florence, investigating the reason behind her uncle’s vast fortune bequeathed to a mysterious cousin. As she digs deeper into her cousin’s whereabouts, she unravels a mysterious family connection to Amerigo Vespucci, his voyages to America, and a tragic Medici love triangle. Tom and Miranda unwittingly become entangled in a sinister plot orchestrated by the sinister Count Scala, an enigmatic figure and the head of Tom’s bank. With dangerous enemies in their pursuit, the duo races against time to unravel an astounding apocalyptic mystery. Jones not only delivers an intoxicating mixture of mythology, art, history, and philosophy but also offers a fascinating satire of the jaded religious practices and absurd human anguish. Every so often, the narrative leaves the characters’ present struggles to delve into the century-old myths and religious allegories, giving the story its vastly ambitious tinge. Tom comes across a melancholy and reticent hero, struggling to make sense of the world around him. The philosophical, religious, and romantic predicaments that gradually shape him are portrayed with brilliance. At first, Miranda with her vaulting ambition comes across as a stand-in for the female stereotype of the current era: the ambitious, highly driven pragmatist. But as the story progresses, Jones unravels her inner psyche, making her wholly humane and likable. A crusader-like figure, and at once sinister and deeply intriguing, Count Scala makes for an intimidating antagonist. The premise is well-imagined, and Jones’s storytelling is both nuanced and intriguing. There are multiple plotlines extended over a vast period of time, but Jones adds enough odd details to offset the occasionally murky plot threads. He smartly sketches his characters’ romantic entanglements and succeeds in building a deeply engrossing world. The truth of how Tom and Miranda’s true identities are the key to rescue the long-lost, ancient Teachings of Hermes Trismegistus and the gifts of the Magi are teased out with skill and nuance. This first-class adrenaline fest will keep readers on their toes until the last page. Dan Brown fans won’t want to miss this one.
Transit of Mercury
By Simon Jones
Pub date January 3, 2019
Price $11.99 (USD) Paperback, $5.22 Kindle edition