Title: The Last Ember
Author: Daniel Levin
Release Date: August 6, 2009
Genre: Historical Thriller
Rating: 4 out of 5
Jonathan Marcus is an international lawyer at a top New York law firm, but he used to be a student of archaeology (specializing in ancient Roman history). As a result, Jonathan is called to Rome in order to advise on the ancient Roman map of one of the firm’s clients. What Jonathan doesn’t expect, however, is that this simple case will be the starting point of an exciting journey involving a beautiful old flame, the tunnels beneath the Colosseum, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and above all, a priceless artifact from Biblical times that has been lost to history…until now.
The Last Ember is a solid addition to the historical thriller genre, mixing a present day setting with intriguing history and a spectacular chase to the finish. Levin is very good at keeping the pace quick in his novels. He balances the need for historical background with the necessity of telling a story that moves relatively swiftly. As a result, the reader’s curiosity is sated, without bogging the narrative down with unnecessary historical details.
Interestingly enough, Daniel Levin’s history is very comparable to his protagonist’s: he too practiced international law at a top New York City law firm. His undergraduate degree was in Roman and Greek civilizations. In some ways, this book can be seen as escapist fare for the author, and it shows in a good way. The story is exciting, with unexpected twists and turns.
Daniel Levin’s writing isn’t the smoothest; it can get bogged down in places and is a little clunky. However, this is an admirable debut novel. The history is interesting, the main character is well-developed, and Levin doesn’t rely on too many historical thriller clichés to arrive at his ending. It’s a fun novel that will keep readers intriged – I definitely recommend it if you’re in the mood for a thrilling read!