For the fans of Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, you might want to check out The Alexander Cypher by Will Adams. It had the same effect on me that the other two had: I couldn’t wait to finish it and stayed up until three in the morning to do so.
Alexander Cypher is about the search for Alexander the Great’s body, which was taken back to Alexandria. According to the book (because I’m not a history person), Alexander’s wishes were to be buried in the Siwa Oasis, but when he died and his empire was broken up, whoever wanted to remain in power would need his body to establish a power base. However, he had a guard of thirty-four members who tried to fulfill his wishes about his burial. Unfortunately, they were stopped before they could complete their task.
Most of what is interesting about this book (besides the mystery part of it, such as ‘Where is Alexander’s tomb?’) is the interactions. The main character, Daniel Knox, annoys one guy right off the bat and gets in trouble trying to protect a girl from him. However, by the end of the book, he is going to need help and that one guy is the person that can assist him. He doesn’t like the head of the SCA, Yusuf Abbas, but has to collaborate with him in order to escape prison. He nearly alienates his love interest because of their relationships with her father. And outside of Knox, there other people just as mixed up. One of the archeologists, Elena, is only working for her employers, the Dragoumis, so that she can get revenge. You spend most of the book thinking the Dragoumis are responsible for her husband’s death only to learn that Elena is the one who arranged it. I think these characters should spend some time in an intense therapy session.
The plot and the setting are also fascinating. I group the two together because it kind of works. The mystery of Alexander’s tomb revolves around the fact that no one knows where he is buried, so the location is just as important as the plot. And while the book opens on the tale of what happened to the honor guard, it quickly moves on to the discovery of a tomb in Alexandria. From there, it is pieced together that the tomb is not Alexander’s, but his standard-bearer, who was briefly mentioned in the prologue as one of the honor guard. He also looked very similar to Alexander, similar enough that his body could pass.
Which leads the characters and readers to question, Where is Alexander actually buried if the double was in Alexandria? And it turns out that the honor guard wasn’t unsuccessful in their pursuits to fulfill the Great’s last wish. However, the political advantages to owning Alexander’s body have not diminished since 318 BC and the Dragoumis want the body so that it can be brought back to Macedonia and inspire the people to fight for their freedom instead of being divided between the surrounding nations. The parallel is fascinating because Nicholas Dragoumis often contemplates how Macedonia would still be great if Alexander’s body had been returned to his homeland rather than captured and brought to Egypt.
And possibly the most interesting question: How did the honor guard smuggle the body away and bury it in the proper place? Well, that’s in the book.