bookrev: Triangle by R.J. Archer
Take a little of Graham Hancock’s theories on Earth’s ancient civilizations, mix in some Clive Cussler-type adventure and action, put on your scuba gear and grab your archaeological text books. Let me see…that’s one part action, one part speculative fiction, one part underwater adventure, one part…aw, heck, don’t classify it. Just read Triangle, the third and concluding novel in R. J. Archer’s Seeds of Civilization series (Tractrix and Tsubute were books one and two).
The book industry as a whole does not enjoy hard to classify novels, but (as you can tell by my own novel) I am quite partial to “genre busters”. If needed, the best categorization of Mr. Archer’s works is “speculative fiction”.
For those unaware, Graham Hancock gives evidence in his books of a ‘mother culture’, potentially alien, that all ancient civilizations descended from. He explores various similarities between different archaeological sites throughout the world, and some unexplainable coincidences. His best known work is Fingerprints of the Gods.
Mr. Archer takes a different archaeological site in each one of his novels, and wraps a mystery including ancient civilizations ala Graham Hancock and includes research, government concern/involvement and active ancient artifacts as evidence of these ancient civilizations. Each of this novels revolves around a different artifact found at a different site, which appears thousands of years old but of an advanced construction. The first novel looked at Olmec ruins in Mexico, the second at underwater ruins in Yonaguni, Japan. The sites are explored by a team from the Northwest US named NWIDI, funded by Frank, the leader, and the team includes armed services veterans, an ancient civilization researcher and an investigative reporter.
Triangle, the third adventure, finds the NWIDI team in and around Cuba and the Bahamas, near the infamous Bimini Road. A signal is detected from an area off the coast of Cuba, and the team, with the help of the US Gov, obtains the usage of a British deep water cable repair ship. With their submersible, they find indications of an underwater civilization, including indications that it extends/points toward Bimini in the Bahamas. They also find a set of triangles with ancient writings on them, buried in the sand, found by the submersible.
It appeared to be a perfect equilateral triangle about two inches on a side. In the center was a small triangular hole and the area between the outer edge of the object and the hole was almost entirely covered with raised figures resembling hieroglyphs. The other side of the object looked very similar, but Frank noticed that the symbols were slightly different.
Without giving away spoilers, events above and beneath the water force them to abandon their search off shore from Cuba, and the team splits, sending two undercover to the Cuban coast to investigate some of the above water mysteries and the rest to Bimini (not coincidently near the infamous Bermuda triangle) to follow the underwater trail. Their archaeologist and researcher, Jim, continues to examine and unravel the secrets of the ancient triangles. To tell more would give away too much of the plot, but, as with the other novels, artifacts discovered by the submersible are found to be from a more advanced civilization from our past, and tie in with the discoveries from Tractrix and Tsubute.
As with Mr. Archer’s previous novels, except for the NWIDI team it is difficult to determine friend from foe; this is an enjoyable part of the adventure and keeps the reader wondering who’s on who’s side, and who really knows what supposedly secret information.
Archer obviously has spent many hours under water. His descriptions of scuba, including rebreather and submersible operations, are technically accurate without turning into techno-babble, descriptive and induce the kind of excitement, fear and enjoyment only divers have experienced. Having never used a rebreather, these descriptions were among my faves in the novel.
Using the marked line, the three NWIDI divers descended slowly, clearing the pressure in their ears frequently. At the twenty-foot mark, Jill waved to Frank and Tony and watched them disappear below her. Frank and Tony exchanged “OK” signals at sixty feet and Tony continued on down. At about seventy-five feet, he was startled by a movement and looked to his right to see Ian waving as he passed by. As he watched the other diver descend, Tony realized for the first time that rebreathers, at least the kind Ian was using, didn’t emit any bubbles.
My issues with the novel are minor: character differentiation could be improved; there are some ends left un-tied, including some of the events on Cuba; and, as always, I’d like to see what happens next (i.e., a longer ending).
But perhaps that will be in the next trilogy! Write more, R.J.!
This review was from an Advanced Readers Copy of Triangle.