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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Aldaraia is the first engrossing entry in the Matthew Bishop series by Burt Clinchandhill and fans of conspiracy and mystery will be hooked from start to finish. Jennifer Porter’s father dies from a mysterious illness, leaving a lot of his life’s work undone. Jennifer is left with a book that is four hundred years old; Aldaraia sive Soyga voco'r or “The Book of Soyga.” The book is written in an unknown, cryptic language. Jennifer’s father had been trying to decode the message of the book before his death. Now, she is obsessed with it and only one person can help her in decoding the message; Yale professor Matthew Bishop. To uncover the secrets of the book, they have to locate hidden scrolls scattered around the world. But they are not the only ones in search of truth in the mysterious book as there are others who will kill to unravel the greatest secret on earth.
Aldaraia is a story that fans of Dan Brown will adore. It is cleverly plotted and the code in The Book of Soyga becomes the central ingredient in the development of the conflict. From page to page, the reader encounters characters that are sophisticated and skillfully developed - from Jennifer’s family and the experience of her father’s illness to complex characters like the occult philosopher, John Dee. The story is told in different timelines and it is fascinating how the author uses his skill to build suspense. Burt Clinchandhill is a great storyteller with a unique gift for elegant prose, great dialogues, and characters that arrest the attention of readers. The story is fast-paced and the tension ramps up pretty fast, escalating towards a delightful and explosive conclusion. It is a real page-turner for fans of mystery and I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.