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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Morrison, Boyd: The Ark

  Amazon  

3 stars

The end of the world scenario Boyd Morrison has imagined in his thriller The Ark is a clever one: a madman, Sebastian Ulric, intends to update the story of Noah and the flood for the modern age, wiping out most of humanity and starting over with a cadre of hoodwinked disciples. The means of destruction he concocts to carry out his plan isn't flood waters, but it is connected with the biblical ark, which an archaeologist working with Ulric has managed to discover after a lifetime of obsession. When the story opens, the archaeologist is missing, and his daughter Dilara, also an archaeologist, is given a message that sets things in motion. She tracks down ex-military engineer Tyler Locke, and  together they set out to save the world, figure out what happened to Dilara's father, and fall in love.

In a word, the book is okay. The prose is unproblematic, but neither does it sparkle. The plot is competent, I suppose, but it fails to thrill. The characters are generic. Ulric is the wealthy genius with an escape pod. Dilara is the attractive, athletic, intelligent heroine who can translate ancient documents and decode their secret messages with a speed that would make Dan Brown's Robert Langdon gasp appreciatively. Tyler is the equally attractive, athletic, etc., hero with the really cool job and a heart that's been broken by his wife's death. There's basically nothing the man can't do: Pilot a jet? Check. Disarm bombs? Sure thing. And he drives race cars and takes out armed insurgents with his bare hands and perfectly remembers building schematics he hasn't seen in years and he has a cool house that looks "like it could have been featured in Architectural Digest." Turns out it's all because he likes to keep busy:

"'I get bored easily. Sitting around ain't my thing. I'm a doer--working, playing with my cars, racing, flying. Anything that gets me out of the house.'"

Right. The characters in Boyd's novel are skin deep and nothing we haven't seen before. If you read the book, you probably won't hate it, but you won't remember it a week later either.

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