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Cooper, Glenn - 'Book of Souls'
Paperback: 448 pages (Feb. 2010) Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd ISBN: 0099534479

BOOK OF SOULS is an amazing book and a fabulous follow-up to the awesome LIBRARY OF THE DEAD that had me hooked last year. It follows the same mysterious library, full of the names of everyone that will ever be, along with their dates of birth and death, but concentrates on one book in particular; a volume for 1527, that went missing long ago and turns up inexplicably in a London auction after spending centuries lying forgotten on a bookshelf in Cantwell Hall: a stately home in the south of England.

Will Piper, the FBI agent involved in the Doomsday murder case in LIBRARY OF THE DEAD, is an even more unwilling participant this time around. He has recently remarried, become a father for the second time and is trying to turn over a new domestic leaf after his enforced early retirement. All is not going so well for him, stuck in New York, dreaming of fishing in Florida and trying to stay away from the whisky bottle in the cabinet under the TV. When he is offered an opportunity to get involved with the library again he is initially hesitant but then jumps at the chance of a bit of excitement. He and two other men former employees of the infamous Area 51 go on a mission to discover the truth behind the last date in the last of the books: 9 February 2027. Their progress is closely followed by the Watchers, Area 51's security team, who are just as determined as Will to solve this mystery. Things get very tense as Will is chased across the Atlantic in a race to buy the book and then find out the truth. Trouble is, the Watchers want everything kept secret, so that Area 51 can continue to be used for the financial gain of the US Government. They have killed before and will do so again to get their own way.

This book follows a similar structure to its predecessor. Again there are three separate, but interconnected, timelines and the plot swaps between them. The earliest timeline follows the fate of the Abbott of Vecti's priory, after the fire that he believes has destroyed the library. The second is concerned with how the 1527 volume ends up in Cantwell Hall and the third is the present day, where they are trying to piece everything together.

There are some rather wonderful surprises for readers of BOOK OF SOULS, despite the fact that you know why the names stop the way they do, as you found out at the end of the last instalment. The ending is fabulous and the chase for the secrets is sheer, nail-biting perfection.

I can't recommend Glenn Cooper's BOOK OF SOULS strongly enough and thoroughly enjoyed being lost in it for the day or so that it took me to devour it.

Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland
February 2010

More crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 5/04/2010 15:09