Sci-Fi · Thriller

Seed of the Gods tweaks ‘Chariots’ theme

Author Rod De Bowes tweaks the old Chariots of the Gods theme about aliens seeding life on Earth and turns it into a thriller. Seed Of The Gods is mostly a gripping, intelligent and well written novel that twists from an archeological mystery into an action thriller and then something else.
Professor Hiram May is in Peru to look for ruins that could cast light on the Chimú, an ancient people who pre-dated the Inca.
After a decade of studying the Chimú, the archaeologist came across a chamber where he found Chimú pottery that provided pictographic clues about the people and the beginnings of a planned Exodus from their coastal homeland into the mountains to flee the invading Inca.
The professor and two graduate students, Steven Lord and Tammy Hanson, the derigueur comely heroine have been trying to mount an expedition into the interior to find the lost Chimú settlement.
Enter Chris Allen who we quickly learn has certain physical skills and smarts – able to outwit and outfight two gun-toting muggers. We also learn Chris has some means. His father left him a yacht, the Dream Chaser, and enough money to leave behind his job as a cop for a few years.
During a jaunt on land, Chris spots Tammy with her ring finger bare. He’s instantly interested. Tammy, it turns out, was bait.
Prof. May’s team asks Chris to spend $1,000 on a plane to find the best locations to search for the ruins.
Chris isn’t as as rich as he looks but he feels an adventure, especially one with Tammy might be worth a G-Note.
The plane does its work. Prof. May locates the Chimú site and sets off with students, some locals, and Chris to search the ancient city.
Meanwhile, the pilot figured that $1,000 is good but a share of the treasure is better. He contacts a band of guerrillas and tells them of the treasure the professor is seeking.
The guerrillas attack, killing some of the locals and kidnapping Prof. May and the male graduate student.
Chris escapes with Tammy into the mountains but are instantly pursued by the heavily armed guerrillas. Chris demonstrates his ingenuity by outwitting and setting traps for the gunmen. The guerrilla leader is incensed and obsessed with capturing Chris.
The story then turns abruptly in a direction that might have taken the reader completely by surprise in good ways if it were not for an entirely unnecessary, baffling and poorly executed prologue.
The pros and cons of placing a prologue at the start of a story is much debated by writers and editors. The prologue for Seed Of The Gods pushes me firmly in the no prologue camp. De Bowes’ prologue contains a monstrous spoiler and by far the worst writing in the book.
The author, while clearly comfortable writing contemporary action scenes, is out of his element with his clumsy, unintentionally campy depiction of an intergalactic space battle.
I gave Seed of the Gods three stars because I hated the prologue. If it’s gone in the next edition, Seed of the Gods gets bumped up to a solid four stars.

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