Adventure Review: Inquisition by David Gibbins

Inquisition felt a little shorter and lighter than David Gibbins best reads. It was fun, and it had some great archaeological moments, but the core conflict was resolved a little too easily, and the whole thing was over far too quickly.

As usual, Jack Howard carries the show here, both as an adventurer and an action hero. He is smart, diligent, and daring, but still human - which is remarkable in a genre known for almost superhuman heroics. The archaeology, particularly the underwater aspects, is absolutely fascinating, and perfectly detailed. Some readers may find that a turn-off, but I like seeing Jack and team work for their finds, battle the elements, and struggle against both tides and time.

I felt there was too much history to this one, but I do like that Gibbins explores mythological treasures from a historical perspective - acknowledging the legends without necessarily validating the myths. The search for the holy grail considers what such an artifact might have looked like, what its origin and function may have been, and how it may have been hidden throughout the centuries, but rather than bestow upon it feats of magic or the evidence of the divine, we never even get see the grail - if that, indeed, is what lays nestled in the black cloth.

Where I felt this fell short was with the Altamanus, yet another secret historical cabal, spun off from the darkest history of the church. They were almost cartoonish (although I did like their commitment to continuing the horrors of the Inquisition), their motives a jumbled mess of arrogance, greed, madness, and faith, and their methods maddeningly inconsistent.

Ultimately, Inquisition was not the best Jack Howard adventure to date, but it is still a far sight better than much of the competition.

Paperback, 400 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by St. Martin's Paperbacks