Pharaoh Key
by Preston, Douglas; Child, Lincoln

Effective Engineering Solutions has been inexplicably shut down and the head of the company, Eli Glinn, has all but vanished. Fresh off a diagnosis that gives him only months to live, Gideon Crew is contacted by one of his coworkers at EES, Manuel Garza,who tells him the two have mere hours to collect their belongings before the office closes forever. After years of dedicated service and several high-risk missions, theirs seems like the most ignoble of terminations, until Gideon and Garza happen upon anincredible discovery. After centuries of silence, a code-breaking machine at EES has cracked the long-awaited translation of a centuries-old stone tablet, the Phaistos Disc, that dates back to an otherwise completely unknown, ancient civilization. The mysteries of the message itself hint at incredible treasures, and perhaps even a world-altering secret. No one remains at EES to take on this most remarkable mission but Gideon and Garza. The two agree to solve the mystery of the disc's message and split the spoils: the perfect parting gift their employer doesn't know he has given. What lies at the end of the trail may save Gideon's life - or bring it to a sudden, shocking close.

The thrillers of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child "stand head and shoulders above their rivals" (Publishers Weekly). Preston and Child's Relic and The Cabinet of Curiosities were chosen by readers in a National Public Radio poll as being among the one hundred greatest thrillers ever written, and Relic was made into a number-one box office hit movie. They are coauthors of the famed Pendergast series and their recent novels include Fever Dream, Cold Vengeance, Two Graves, and Gideon's Corpse. In addition to his novels, Preston writes about archaeology for the New Yorker and Smithsonian magazines. Lincoln Child is a former book editor who has published five novels of his own, including the huge bestseller Deep Storm.
Readers can sign up for The Pendergast File, a monthly "strangely entertaining note" from the authors, at their website, The authors welcome visitors to their alarmingly active Facebook page, where they post regularly.

Here's the bad news: Gideon Crew, the adventurer-hero of four previous novels by the Preston-Child writing team, has been given only months to live. It looks like illness will do what numerous adversaries have failed to accomplish. But, first, Gideon has one last adventure to complete. Manuel Garza, a friend and colleague, asks Gideon to help solve a mystery and, just maybe, find an ancient treasure. This is an entertaining and suspenseful thriller from a team that specializes in exciting and suspenseful (they're perhaps better known as the authors of the Special Agent Pendergast series); the writing is fluid, the story is appropriately labyrinthine, and the Gideon-Garza interplay may remind some of the Hope-Crosby Road movies. Although the press material accompanying the galley says it's the fifth and final Gideon Crew novel, the ending leaves plenty of room for further adventures. So here's hopin'. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Doomed by a fatal illness, Gideon Crew embarks on one wild, series-ending adventure (Beyond the Ice Limit, 2016, etc.). Crew has AVM, a brain malformation that will kill him in about two months, although he'll feel fine until his sudden death. He and his engineer colleague Manuel Garza lose their jobs with no warning when their employer, Effective Engineering Solutions, suddenly stops paying them and shuts down without a word of explanation. While they're cleaning out their desks, they discover that a computer in the office has just finished a calculation that it's been working on for 43,000 hours—almost five years. Garza sticks a USB drive in the computer and downloads the information, which is about a secret project to decipher the ancient Phaistos Disk. Garza proposes that they find whatever treasure it may lead to and sell it "for the most dough we possibly can," no matter what it turns out to be, even if it's a "fucking centerfold of the Mona Lisa." So they trek to the desolate Hala'ib Triangle in southeastern Egypt, a journey involving one blasted thing after another. They ride an ancient ferry that sinks on the Red Sea, drowning hundreds. A woman outbids Crew and Garza when they try to rent camels, their guide cheats them, and they nearly die of thirst in the desert, where they try to survive a haboob—"the worst kind of dust storm"—and find a "mist oasis." The pace never slackens as they get closer to the GPS coordinates they're looking for, and they have an encounter that changes everything. Crew's legerdemain and Garza's nifty engineering skills get them out of serious jams but may not save them from the one-eyed leopard or the fearsome warrior who is determined to fight Garza to the death. Through all of this, Crew faces the ultimate clock, the one ticking inside his brain. This is a cleverly plotted yarn with some laugh-out-loud twists, the best ones involving Garza's bravery and ingenuity. There are numerous referen c es to earlier books in the series, and fans might like to read Beyond the Ice Limit first. Still, this book stands alone just fine. When the end of a book with a dying hero makes the reader laugh, that's a neat trick. This is a great cap on the series. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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