The Tiger Warrior

Written by David Gibbins
Review by Ann Northfield

This is the fourth novel by underwater archaeologist David Gibbins, and although it is not presented as a sequel, there are quite a few events referred to in this book that must have happened in the previous one(s). This is a little confusing at times. The novel opens promisingly in 19 BC with the violent murder of a trader by ‘lost’ Roman legionaries. He tells them of treasure beyond their wildest dreams and so begins a pursuit that continues into the present day. The main character is Jack Howard, an underwater archaeologist who is presented in the novel as akin to Indiana Jones.

Sadly characterisation takes a back place to the chunks of history, and we never get a sense of Jack as a person. The history is well researched, detailed and interesting but it is introduced into the narrative sometimes quite clumsily (‘What? You mean the tomb that was discovered in 1908 by such and such a person’), and then comes a whole history lesson disguised as filling in a character on the information.

The action moves from ancient times to modern, and there is also a part set in 1908 involving Jack’s long-lost great-grandfather. The plot centres around a search for fabulous jewels, with the tiger warrior of the title, a member of a weird familial sect, also in pursuit. The descriptions of the jungle, the underwater scenes, and the gun battles make it move along at a rapid place but because of the weak characterisation, it is difficult to care much. Lots of interesting things, extremely well-researched, exciting scenes with lots of action but overall a little disappointing.