Caleb and Linda Pirtle best international thriller cover design: American Caliphate
February 11, 2013
Caleb and Linda Pirtle is pleased to begin announcing the winners of its Best Cover Design for Mystery Novels. The awards will be announced each day, and they will be given in the genres of International Thriller, Mystery, Conspiracy, Crime, Historical Crime, Romantic Suspense, Paranormal Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Thriller, Detective, Spy Thriller, Crime Suspense, Hard-Boiled, Political Thriller, and Suspense.
THE BEST INTERNATIONAL THRILLER COVER DESIGN AWARD GOES TO AMERICAN CALIPHATE, WRITTEN BY WILLIAM DOONAN, PUBLISHED BY OAK TREE PRESS, AND DESIGNED BY REESE–WINSLOW DESIGNS.
Archaeologists Jila Wells and Ben Juarez are not thrilled at the prospect of returning to Peru; the ambush that nearly cost Jila her life still haunts her. But the ruined pyramids at Santiago de Paz hide an important document that would shock the Islamic world. Professor Sandy Beckham is assembling a distinguished team to dig quickly through the pyramid complex, following clues found in the diary of a wealthy Muslim woman who lived in Spain nearly five centuries ago.
In the diary are details of an illegal expedition to Spanish Peru in three well-armed ships. Convinced that Spain was forever lost to Islam, Diego Ibanez intended to bring the word of Allah to the pagan Americans. Landing on Peru’s north coast, he learned that the fires of the Inquisition burned even hotter there than they did in Spain.
As the archaeologists brace for the ravaging storms of El Niño, Jila and Ben hurry to complete their excavations. But they’re not the only ones interested in this project. Other forces are determined that the document remain hidden. Should it be discovered, a challenge could be made under Islamic testamentary law to the throne of Saudi Arabia. And the House of Saud has no interest in sharing power with an American caliphate that might now awaken from a five hundred year slumber.
Review by Bob: From the first page your drawn into a story packed with interesting facts and information about medieval history and archeology. The story’s also dense with great characters, fully fleshed-out and individualized, archeologists, spies, drug dealers, ideologues, visionaries, missionaries, prophets, you name it, they’re in here. And these are not your average, cliched, two dimensional characters so typical of contemporary adventure fiction. These characters have subtleties and nuance. (Tom Clancy eat your heart out.) I particularly like the female characters, the two who take part in the dig, Jila and Aleza, and the older matriarch in the wings, Mrs. Heydr. (To say more here would give away to much of the story.)
American Caliphate starts with the classic call to adventure. Two former lovers, both archeologists, who had a rough go of it on a previous expedition (they both got shot), are asked to return to the same set of ruins at which they got shot. Why? Because the team leader is looking for something special, something that could change the face of the world. Problem, at least one problem, is that the team leader can’t seem to tell the truth. It’s just one lie after another. His colleagues and fellow archeologists know he’s lying, but they can’t turn away and go home. How can they leave when (1) the money is so good and (2) there are fascinating artifacts to be found? Besides, what archeologist in his or her right mind can ignore a secret buried under the ground, or, for that matter, buried in plain sight?
As adventures go, this one is a dilly. It’s grand and imaginative, but never unbelievable or over the top. In addition, the author took the time to build atmosphere, not just in the surroundings and locations but also in the characters. I loved the seminal experiences that made the characters come alive on the page.
Some books are great and they make you want to read faster and faster. And some books are great and they make you want to read slower and slower. For me, this book was in the latter category. What can I say? I like archeology. I like stories about conspirators and spies. I like adventure.
Review by Patricia Gligor: An endorsement on the back of American Caliphate by William Doonan reads, “Think Indiana Jones and the Da Vinci Code rolled into one.” That’s a perfect description of the book.
William immerses us into the world of an archaeological expedition in Peru, with dangerous, even deadly overtones. As Jila Wells, Ben Juarez and the rest of their team excavate a site, searching for an item that will change history, they encounter many obstacles. There are others who will stop at nothing to put an end to their search and, to top it off, El Nino is on the way.