Ro­manc­ing The Jones

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re­leased OUT NOW! 448 pages | Paper­back/ebook

Au­thor Jac­que­lyn Benson

Pub­lisher Head­line

Clas­sic ad­ven­ture sto­ries by the likes of H Rider Hag­gard and Edgar Wal­lace are prob­lem­atic to say the least; nowa­days the thrill of the tale tends to be spoiled by at­ti­tudes to­wards most peo­ple who are not white and/or male. The Smoke Hunter feels like an at­tempt to de­liver those old-fash­ioned thrills in a more in­clu­sive fash­ion.

A lot of this 1890s-set story feels very fa­mil­iar. As suf­fragette rebel Eleanora Mal­lory heads into the Hon­duran jungle with rugged Amer­i­can Adam Bates, fol­low­ing a mys­te­ri­ous map, things feel rather Ro­manc­ing The Stone. And Bates, who con­ceals a top-notch uni­ver­sity ed­u­ca­tion and ex­per­tise in Mayan his­tory un­der that buff ex­te­rior, has more than a whiff of In­di­ana Jones about him.

The PC side of things isn’t over-laboured, and the ad­ven­ture is great fun, with such genre sta­ples as lethal ob­sta­cles to over­come, blood­thirsty an­i­mals, and an en­ter­tain­ingly hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment (en­ter­tain­ing for the read­ers, that is). The main prob­lem is, it’s more King­dom Of The Crys­tal Skull than Raiders Of The Lost Ark. En­joy­able enough, but not cap­ti­vat­ing. Miriam McDon­ald

Jac­que­lyn Benson be­gan writ­ing her first novel aged 15, but kept aban­don­ing books a few chap­ters in.

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