Book Review: The Voynich Cipher by Russell Blake

So, this book was a (surprise!) free download on Kindle.  I’m really glad it was.  Given that the author writes commercial fiction (thriller) genre as one I’d like to one day be a success in, I very much enjoyed the ride.  Mr. Blake does a lot of things right, and while reading, I realized I still have a ways to go if I am going to reach his levels of success.  He, like a Dan Brown or James Patterson, have absolutely nailed pacing – I wanted to know what happened next, and was compelled to move through the chapters.  While the opening was a bit cliched and the love story a bit forced, the story kept moving and the integration of history was enough to keep me interested.

I was thinking more about this book and why the pacing worked last night and it occurred to me – pressure and tension.  The characters are against two competing sources, while at the same time being hunted themselves (this plot technique also works very well in The Da Vinci Code).  Extrapolating to my own book, there are two (and a half) factions looking for historical pieces, but there is not the ‘life and death’ motivation that pushes Blake and Brown’s characters forward.  As I get ready to approach the final draft, I’m considering upping the body count a bit.  I think more fictional sacrifices might be necessary to convey that the action is serious business.

Finally, Mr, Blake was smart and included additional portions of other books from his library.  While I was not tempted, per se, to read or buy any of them, I did think it was a great marketing move (and realize I need to do this with my existing library).

What a masculine font.

Interested in the author, I clicked over to his web page, which I found entertaining and full of great information.  He’s very open about his own adventures in KDP (here and here) – which I found very interesting, and even learned a thing or two.

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