Friday, June 24, 2011

BOOK REVIEWS: Altar of Bones

Title: Altar of Bones

Author: Philip Carter

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

RRP: $45.00

ISBN: 9780857202062

Release Date: April 2011

Pages: 640


Siberia, 1939. Pregnant with her first child, Lena Orlova plans a daring escape from a brutal Soviet prison camp to the one place she knows is safe: a cave containing the legendary Altar of Bones, hidden behind a frozen waterfall deep in the icy wilderness.

San Francisco, Present Day. Zoe Dmitroff discovers that she is the last in a line of women who have been entrusted with a secret so great many have died preserving it. Propelled into a dangerous quest to discover exactly what she was born to protect, Zoe is soon running for her life from a vicious assassin and an all powerful businessman with chilling plans. Only ex-Special Ops soldier, Ry O'Malley, can help her survive, but with time running out and the web closing in, Zoe will have to make a devastating decision that will transform her forever.

From the frozen wastelands of Russia, to the winding maze of Paris's backstreets, from Washington D.C, through America's mid-west all the way to San Francisco, THE ALTAR OF BONES is a gripping global thriller that spans the generations and unearths the dark secret behind one of the biggest conspiracies of all time.


Philip Carter is the admited pseudonym for an internationally renowned author.

THE ALTAR OF BONES starts with an ancient secret in Siberia where the actual altar is revealed and may indeed hold the key to the fountain of youth and immortality. As the novel jumps to present day we find a dying homeless woman representing the answer to unlocking the decades-buried secret of this altar and the magical elixir it produces.

The heroes of this tale are Zoe Dmitroff, the grand-daughter of the first Keeper of the Altar of the Bones. She is paired with Ry O'Malley --- an ex Special Ops officer whose father's past is the gateway to understanding the power of the altar. The back-story about Ry's father --- who is implicated in both the assassination of JFK as well as the murder of Marilyn Monroe --- takes the story on a speculative leap that is both fun and unbelievable.

KGB operative Nikolai Popov, Assassin Michael O'Malley and Billionaire Miles Davis are evil and powerful men and killers with secretly taped evidence to kill for. Davis and his employee, the ruthless, heartless, beautiful redhead CIA assassin Jasmine Poole ( a.k.a. Yakir) want the tapes, Popov wants the substance and O'Malley wants to keep his son's alive.

Nikolai and Keeper Lena Orlova have a history to unravel. Michael O'Malley and Lena's daughter Katya also have a relationship that will be exposed. Katya's estranged then deranged mobster daughter Anna and Nikolai have a connection. Well connected DEA agent Ryland O'Malley (Michael's son) and Zoe Dmitroff (Anna's daughter) and current Keeper of the Altar of Bones have an unfolding relationship and are on a mission to untwine its mystery and revenge the murder of their loved ones or die trying.

ALTAR OF BONES is an excellent example of it's genre, the characters are reasonably believable, the basic premise is imaginative, the plot is exciting. It is an enjoyable way to spend a few hours, not to be confused with great or serious literature, but a pleasant companion to take on a trip or to fill in some idle moments waiting for appointments or commuting.

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