Drachen

A Thriller

Fiction - Thriller - General
302 Pages
Reviewed on 08/25/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Brendan le Grange was born and educated in South Africa, though he now lives between Manila and Hong Kong with his beautiful wife and daughter.

As a business consultant, he has travelled to forty countries and lived in three. And it is reading binges to break up these transits - with the likes of Clive Cussler and Jack du Brul - that inspired the writer to emerge, bringing to life the cities, characters, and history he encountered.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite

Drachen by Brendan le Grange is an exciting and fast paced thriller of a story. Brett is on the trail to find the treasure from the ancient wreck of the Drachen, but is pursued by Sam, Roman, and Patrick. Piecing together mysterious clues from different sources, the four dash across Northern Europe in an attempt to locate and find answers and the target before Finnish hit man Kalev and his men, who follow orders from the mad Hiko, can thwart them. The trail takes them through dangerous tunnels and deep waters, and they miraculously and skilfully dodge bullets, manage car chases and escape capture. Meanwhile police investigator Matthys has clues and leads to follow up himself as he perseveres in his pursuit of tracking down and stopping psychopath Hiko and his terrifying vengeful plans.

Drachen is an exhilarating and exciting story. Packed with intrigue and action, it is a wonderful mixture of the mystical, the mystery of ancient legend, modern day villains and a thriller. I loved the ‘flashbacks’ to times of old offering explanations for the origins of the treasures. Brendan le Grange is a brilliant writer who knows how to create a really gripping story. The first chapter hooked me in from the start, and I really couldn’t put the book down. The intricate plot moves at a good pace, taking the reader on a roller-coaster of a journey through thrills, dangers, near disasters, and awesome discoveries. In the end, it all comes to a satisfying and believable end. The characters are excellent – well developed, very believable, and I was rooting for Brett from the start. The motivations for their actions make sense – from the crazy Hiko and his dangerous psychopathic ways to Brett and her determination to finish what she has started, and Sam the ex-soldier wanting to conclude something his grandfather had not been able to. An enjoyable thriller. Recommended.

Jack Magnus

Drachen is a thriller written by Brendan le Grange. Brett, a marine archaeologist, has been obsessed with finding the legendary treasure ship, the Drachen, for over three years. When she finally does come across the sunken ship off the coast of Finland, her dive reveals that the wreck had already been plundered, leaving nothing for her to salvage except for some gold coins, a set of keys, and a ball of amber. Her boat is hijacked, and Brett barely makes it to safety after being chased at gunpoint by Kalev, a Finnish mercenary who's been retained by the mysterious Hiko, and Kalev’s two thugs. Brett's interest in the Drachen had first been piqued some six years ago, when she came upon an ancient book in the archives of the University of Hamburg; then she found a painting that purported to show the ship under siege. In Tallin, Estonia, she consults Rasmus, a scholar, who tells her more about the Drachen and its history.

Brendan le Grange's archaeological thriller, Drachen, is a fast-paced and enthralling adventure tale filled with secret passageways, puzzles, codes and clues as Brett and her companions search for the missing treasure. Kalev is marvelous as the diabolical and dogged villain who seems to have a preternatural ability to predict where they will turn up next. And his client, the sinister Hiko, has even Kalev worried about his mission's success. I loved the European setting of this story and found myself frequently consulting the map that appears in the front of the book to keep up with Brett's travels. Drachen also introduces Interpol Inspector Matthys Rossouw, a Belgian policeman who has been following the tracks of an elusive criminal he's nicknamed St. George, a task so important that he feels obliged to defy his boss's requests that he take on other, more mundane, assignments. I was intrigued by his story and am looking forward to reading further books in this series. Drachen is highly recommended.

Paul Johnson

In Drachen by Brendan le Grange, Brett Rivera is a marine archaeologist who has spent three years searching for the Drachen, an ancient warship of the Hansa, reported to be filled with treasure. The day she finds it is the day her life changes. There is no sign of its legendary treasure, but that doesn’t stop an assorted group of folks out to find what happened to it before she does. First there’s a psychopath that hates his mother and wants the treasure for a reason of his own. He employs a hit man that can’t abide failing in his mission to stop Brett. There’s an ex-soldier out to prove a theory of his grandfather. And then there’s a policeman who has problems of his own. Brett’s chase for the treasure moves rapidly across northern Europe with danger seemingly at every turn. Who will eventually come out on top? Of course Brett knows it has to be her.

Sunken ships, treasure, intrigue and danger. What could be better? Brendan le Grange has put together an action and adventure story with the action beginning on page one and steadily continuing on from there. There is a myriad of interesting characters each with their own agenda. The plot is well designed and interesting. The dialogue is superbly done. One small thing, the story could possibly be enhanced with a little more back story on the main characters, who exactly are they and how did they get where they are. Also, a few paragraphs on the history of the Hansa would give the reader a little more insight to the story line. Overall, though, this is a well developed and well written story that I enjoyed very much.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Brendan le Grange’s Drachen is full of thrills and spills. Brett is being chased through the forest by the men who hijacked her dive site. All she has from her work are a few trinkets, a book, and many unanswered questions. The Drachen is an ancient warship that was sunk off the coast of Finland. It is fabled to have had a grand treasure among its cargo. Legend says that on board the ship was a “fantastic beast,” a dragon, placed there to guard the treasure. However, most believe that the treasure was taken to Germany, and then hidden again. This is where Brett’s book of fairy tales comes in, for there are clues hidden within the stories that lead to the treasure. With the help of her friends, Rasmus and Patrick, Brett begins to unlock the codes. Brett is not the only person interested in the treasure; her path collides with others trying to solve the mystery. Matthys works for Europol, he is haunted by an unsolvable case named St. George, involving thefts of dragon iconography. Then there’s Sam, a British officer who is trying to solve the dark history of an archaic book his grandfather smuggled out of Germany during the war. Each one is on their own personal mission, risking everything to gain the treasure of the Drachen.

Brendan le Grange spins a tale of epic proportions in Drachen. It is a mixture of action, adventure, and legendary folklore. The characters are strong, unique and of various backgrounds, yet they intersect in the plot with ease. The storyboard is full of scene changes; these rapid and fluid exchanges enhance the action. This quest for treasure is full of underwater action, fighting, shoot outs, car chases, running, hiding, and near death experiences. There is never a dull moment. I especially like the descriptions of the ancient architecture; they were described as living breathing entities, instead of mere bricks and mortar. I don’t believe I will ever look at an old church in Europe the same way again. Their stained glass, intricate carvings and icons will always hold an element of mystery. Furthermore the imagery of the action is creative and sensory. Although this is a Matthys Rossouw Pursuit, he has a minimal role compared to the other characters in the narrative. Le Grange holds to the deviousness of his antagonist, St. George, to the very end. One question remains, will Rossouw’s St. George be akin to Sherlock Holmes’ Moriarty? I guess we will just have to wait and see.