The Voynich Gambit – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Quintin Peterson

In Quintin Peterson’s The Voynich Gambit, Special Police Officer Lt. Norman Blalock is caught amid a dangerous situation. On the heels of another botched heist, notorious artifact dealer Rupert Whyte plots to steal a mysterious treasure from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. As the double-crossed “inside man,” Norman must do everything he can to stop Whyte from doing so. Meanwhile, his only ally is the beautiful Kavitha Netram, but even she has secret intentions. They both want to be free from Whyte’s demanding orders, but that is much easier said than done.

From the very beginning, it is obvious that The Voynich Gambit is a sequel to another book. It jumps right back into the action, which is certainly exciting, but also confusing for new readers who happen to read this book before its predecessor. It is difficult to determine who the characters are, how they relate to one another, and what is generally going on without having read the first book (Guarding Shakespeare); for that reason, The Voynich Gambit is not a good standalone novel. Also, The Voynich Gambit’s plot tends to seem complicated and oddly paced, making it difficult to follow for much of the book.

Despite the occasional confusion, The Voynich Gambit is a fascinating novel. Written in a noir style and with an equal representation of modern culture and historical references, The Voynich Gambit is a well-balanced and intriguing mystery novel. Quintin Peterson is an excellent writer with a flair for gripping mysteries, which is clearly evident in this book. The Voynich Gambit is a great noir mystery, but prospective readers should certainly consider reading Guarding Shakespeare first, if they should have any hope of following along with this installment.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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