Title: Find (The Course of Fate #1)
Author: Steve Dunn Hanson
Publication date: September 17, 2020
One Sentence Summary: It’s time for an ancient cache of relics and chronicles to be unearthed in Mesoamerica, twisting a renowned anthropologist, televangelist, and the leader of a cartel into fulfilling an ancient prophecy.
Find is an interesting book about religion with an overlay of archaeology. It did feel like the author was pushing his religious ideologies a bit too much throughout the book, but I really appreciated the archaeological pieces. However, it felt like there were a few too many things mixed into the story, parts that could have been left out or altered to make a tighter, more tension-inducing story. Find definitely presents interesting ideas and great attention to detail surrounding religion, specifically that of the Latter Day Saints, and archaeology and offers some food for thought to readers.
Find opens with Brother Luke, an egomaniac televangelist who believes God is leading him on a path of greatness. He also has an obsession with the Sleeping Prophet that leads him to believe he is meant to find ancient Atlantean records and something called the firestone. However, because of his sudden turn in fortunes and fame four years before, followed by the set up of a mission for the Mayan people in Chiapas, Mexico, he’s caught the eye of the DEA.
Luke also knows a Mayan shaman named Kish, who sets Luke on what he thinks is his path to greatness. Only, it involves the agnostic/atheist (depends on the day) anthropologist Dr. Nathan Hill who insists on doing things the right and legal way. Theirs is a clash of wills, but there are other figures in the shadows that are connected to them, figures with their own agendas and ideas of how useful the others are at any point in time.
Find felt like an interesting push and pull between religious ideology and archaeology. There was a great deal of detail put into both parts, but I think the religion won out at the end. Not that’s it’s bad; it just wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, though a reader who appreciates looking at the world through a religious lens might enjoy this.
Archaeology has been a longtime interest of mine, so I have a hard time passing up books that involve it. Like Find. I was riveted by Nathan and his work, his incredible attention to detail, and the process from beginning to end. I loved feeling like I was going on the expeditions with him and his teams, even if they did end up being a little dangerous and even if there was a murderous shaman on the loose.
But I had a hard time with this novel because the pacing felt off, the tension wasn’t strong, and the religion overtook the story. Mostly, it was due to the fact that the bad guys felt like the bad guys in the story, but they also tried to be good bad guys, if that makes any sense. They felt more interested in self-preservation than anything else, making them feel more like non-threatening shadowy figures who were more behind the scenes than anything else. I wish they had been a bit more terrifying to amp up the tension and maybe improve the pacing. The story felt slow to start and slow to warm up. There were definitely some high points, points where I just wanted to keep reading. But there was also a lot of what felt like lag, events and conversations happening that felt unnecessary and just slowed down the book, as well as excessive head hopping that often confused me as to where characters were in relation to each other so I sometimes felt like I was experiencing mental whiplash going back and forth so much.
The characters were also a bit hit and miss with me. Of course, I really enjoyed Nathan and his associate Hyrum Bentley, who added to both the archaeology and religious part. They were consummate professionals and really conveyed their excitement to me. Luke was exactly what he was described to be: an egomaniac. I completely understood him, but also thoroughly disliked him. I did love Audra, though. She was a fascinating piece with ties to both Nathan and Luke. I loved the way her story unfolded, and her relationship with Nathan felt very sweet and natural. I also loved Nathan’s students, but wish they had been incorporated more.
Overall, Find was an interesting book to read. It could have been tighter, could have had more tension, but had some really well done characters and the descriptions of the dig sites made me feel like I was there. I think this would be a great read for those who enjoy a religious slant to what they read. It just wasn’t really my cup of tea.
How many cups of tea will you need?
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Thank you to Steve Dunn Hanson for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.