Friday, December 11, 2009
The Fire is a complicated adventure novel involving a centuries-long search for a famous chess set and the solution to its mysteries. Parallel stories set in present day and in the 1820s track the efforts of the Black Team and the White Team to find the missing game pieces, discover the meaning of The Game, and figure out just who is on which team -- and if it matters.
This is definitely an adventure story rather than a thriller. It is full of symbolism and riddle-solving, all interwoven with history, but it is more Mists of Avalon than Da Vinci Code. The story unfolds but never heats up.
The story drags as the characters dither and, while the plot is moderately interesting, it is not an exciting book. There is a lot of talk about the heroine being in danger, but there is never any actual danger. The only deaths occurred in the past and usually involved historic figures. There are no chase scenes, sneak attacks, near misses – no immediate risks or sense of suspense at all.
The big conclusion when the heroine solves the mystery of The Game once and for all is a big snooze. At least the solution of The Da Vinci Code was profound – blasphemous, but profound. The solution of The Game is no more profound than a brochure for a New Age spa.