This is the second of Martin’s books I have read. The first “Pyramid” was an enjoyable debut and this second novel confirms him to be up there amongst the leading lights of the adventure fiction genre. “Pyramid” seemed to get a considerable number of Amazon reviewers frothing at the mouth, pointing out inaccuracies and implausiblities, but even a number of them admitted a fondness for it. In “Kingdom” (which fares somewhat better on Amazon) we meet Nancy Kelly, a journalist who joins a newspaper team in India and is instantly embroiled in the disappearance of her predecessor in Tibet. Kelly begins her own search with daredevil and antiquities dealer (what a combination!) Jack Adams. It’s great to see a well-rounded central female character in this type of book.
Before long we’re off on a search for Shangri-La and secrets which will have serious repercussions throughout the world. Missing the Nazis in your adventure fiction? Fear not because they’re not too far away in this . The plot line is ludicrous but the whole thing is extremely likeable. It also features a character at death’s door who must take a prize for one of the most coherent death-bed narratives ever! These jibes aside I think the novel is well-done, it doesn’t over-reach itself by becoming too complex or too fragmented and it is a good example of the genre.
In these two novels British novelist Martin has proved himself to be a story-teller of consistency and worth. He hasn’t published anything since these two so I hope he hasn’t been put off by those pesky Amazon reviewers. “Tom Martin” is a pseudonym and my little bit of amateur-detective work has not been able to find out much more than this. I would happily purchase a third book by this writer.
Kingdom was published in the UK in 2009 by Pan Books