Are you a fan of adventure stories? Do you love historical fiction? The Rosetta Key by William Dietrich is the book for you.
Ethan Gage is an American adventurer and a former friend and pupil of Benjamin Franklin whose story actually begins in Napoleon's Pyramids, in which Gage, supported by Napoleon Bonaparte, explores the secrets of the Great Pyramid. As The Rosetta Key begins, a misunderstanding has led to a falling out between Gage and Bonaparte, and Gage finds himself headed to Jerusalem in search of the Book of Thoth, a fabled Egyptian scroll that holds the keys to countless powers and might even have been the source of Moses's miracles.
Gage sets off on a roller-coaster adventure, finding himself in predicament after predicament, but always getting away with a mix of skill, luck, and a heavy dose of resourcefulness. To Dietrich's credit, some of these getaways are surprising, but do not stretch the bounds of believability. In fact, the story is nearing the end before he resorts to a heavily clichéd escape from a predicament. By this point, the reader is hooked and a minor slip can be forgiven.
Dietrich does an outstanding job of immersing the reader in the historical context. He includes enough details to add legitimacy to the story. Many real-life events are tied into the plot, with Gage's antics cleverly presented as the underlying causes.
The strongest point of The Rosetta Key is Ethan Gage himself. He is a lovable rogue and gambler with a sense of humor and enough self-awareness to know his own weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Unlike the main characters of many adventure stories, Gage is far from perfect. He is bright but not brilliant, resourceful but unlucky, a fair shot but not a great fighter. He has two love interests in this story, but the reader wonders if he will keep either for very long. In the few times the plot slows, the reader's interest in Gage and his exploits keep the pages turning.
The Rosetta Key is a highly entertaining historical romp. Pick up your copy today!