The Guardians of the Covenant

Written by Tom Egeland
Review by Edward James

If you liked The Da Vinci Code (and millions did despite the ridicule) then you will be delighted with The Guardians of the Covenant. If not, be warned, for this is TDVC on a grander scale, ranging in time from Moses to Christopher Columbus and visiting not only Egypt and the West Indies but also Iceland, Norway, Rome, London and elsewhere. Eurostar will not be organising any Guardians tours.

All the familiar ingredients are here; ruined abbeys, lost tombs, coded manuscripts, ruthless enemies and treacherous friends, a little light love interest and a mystic secret which has been guarded through the centuries by a select group of initiates. There are also two elements of TDVC which imitators often miss. Firstly Tom Egeland is a Norwegian writer who is sufficiently steeped in Viking and mediaeval history and legend to make his fantasy almost credible. Indeed there is rather too much cryptanalysis for my taste, but one can skip it. Secondly the hero is not a super James Bond but an impractical nerd who stumbles into the mayhem by accident and is as bewildered and frightened as any reader would be.

In the author’s own words this is ‘a mind game that starts where reality and science end’.