Review written by Jess Peacock
Since its publication in 2003, Dan Brown’s wildly successful novel The Da Vinci Code has inspired innumerable knockoffs hoping to hitch a ride on the Robert Langdon money train. The Atlantis Code is just one more.
Charles Brokaw (a pseudonym) has patched together a Frankenstein’s monster of tired clichés, well-worn plot devices, and stereotypes straight out of every standard Hollywood blockbuster of the last twenty years. The hero, Thomas Lourdes, is half Robert Langdon half Indiana Jones, a world famous linguist and archeologist (I’m not entirely sure how one becomes a celebrity by studying languages) who quickly finds himself drawn into a very real search for the mythical Atlantis. Replete with foreign baddies, complex puzzles that only Lourdes has the capacity to solve, and revelations of global and historical significance, The Atlantis Code certainly does its best to out code all of the other codes out there.
Thrown into the mix is a dastardly secret society tucked deep within the Vatican (where else?) that will stop at nothing to prevent Lourdes from uncovering the uber-religious secret Atlantis hides. Joining Lourdes on his globe trotting adventure are two women, one a tough as nails Russian policewoman, the other a not so bright television host. Both are amazingly gorgeous. Both end up in Lourdes’ bed (of course).
It is this portrayal of the female characters within The Atlantis Code that truly drags the read into utter ridiculousness. From the heavy handed, lascivious descriptions of their physical attributes, to the Harlequin romance inner monologues of their irresistible sexual attraction to Lourdes, these female supporting players were seemingly cut from the adolescent Playboy fantasies of a writer who simply failed to grow up and accept women as more than trophies for display.
With the Atlantis Code, Brokaw does his damndest to create the next pseudo-intellectual action-adventure literary blockbuster. Not surprisingly, however, the piggybacking of so many overused stock cinematic and literary tropes only serves to spotlight the absurdity of Thomas Lourdes and the inane plot that drives his journey. There is absolutely zero character development or growth in the book, and the climax only succeeds at inducing some confused head scratching, not to mention plenty of regret for dropping the cash on this hardcover abortion.