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The Smoke Hunter by Jacquelyn Benson
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The Smoke Hunter

by Jacquelyn Benson

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305515,050 (4.29)9
  1. 00
    Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters (passion4reading)
    passion4reading: A strong female character in the male-dominated world of archaeology, set here in Egypt during the Victorian era.
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Showing 5 of 5
This definitely has the feel of an Indiana Jones story. Eleanora and Adam make a charming pair and their adventures are exciting. I want to go explore ruins now - but only nice safe ones without paranormal powers! ( )
  tjsjohanna | May 2, 2017 |
[The Smoke Hunter] by Jacquelyn Benson
3 stars

From The Book:
Frustrated suffragette and would-be archaeologist Ellie Mallory stumbles across a map to a city that shouldn't exist, a jungle metropolis alive and flourishing centuries after the Mayan civilization mysteriously collapsed. Discovering it would make her career, but Ellie isn't the only one after the prize. A disgraced professor and his ruthless handler are hot on her heels, willing to go any extreme to acquire the map for themselves.

To race them through the uncharted jungle, Ellie needs a guide. The only one with the expertise is maverick surveyor Adam Bates. But with his determination to nose his way into Ellie's many secrets, Bates is a dangerous partner.

As Ellie gets closer to her goal, she realizes it's not just her ambitions at stake. A powerful secret lies hidden in the heart of the city - and if it falls into the wrong hands, it could shake the very fate of the world.

My Thoughts:
Historical novels are not really what I would normally pursue as those that know me well can verify but this one wasn't bad. There was lots of action, a touch of romance, and a wonderful setting in Belize, a very interesting and colorful country. This is Jacquelyn Benson's first novel and I will have to say that it showed a lot of promise. Her heroine was well ahead of her times as she didn't take any crap off of anyone and was very capable of standing up for herself and for 1898 that says a lot in itself. Who knows? I just might try book #2. ( )
  Carol420 | Mar 7, 2017 |
What a great book. I haven’t had this much fun reading an adventure yarn since I read Romancing the Stone, by Catherine Lanigan some time ago. From the streets of London in the last days of the nineteenth century, to the steaming jungles of Central America, the action and adventure are non-stop as Eleanora Mallory lives her dream of pursuing archaeological finds through a male dominated world. Ellie, as she prefers to be called, has spent her life fighting against the bigotry and pressures of the men who dominate her field of study. Her high marks and outstanding performance in university have only been rewarded by a menial job as an archivist in the Public Record Office in London. The highlight of her life so far has been when she was arrested for chaining herself to the gates of Parliament in protest for women’s rights. This of course has not been looked kindly upon by her employer, who promptly fires her. As a last act of defiance Ellie confiscates an old map and artifact that she comes across on her last day at work. She is sure no one else has even the remotest idea of the importance of the items and cannot bare to see them languish in the dusty halls of the Archives, never to be noticed. She soon finds that she was wrong, as two mysterious and very intimidating men soon come calling at her house inquiring after the missing artifacts. Only her quick thinking and pluck allow her to evade their search. With the help of a friend, Ellie assumes a new identity and finds herself on the way to British Honduras and the adventure of a lifetime. The search for a lost city predating both the Aztec and the Mayan cultures is overshadowed only by Ellie’s chance meeting with local archaeologist, Adam Bates. His less than charming attitude toward her are overshadowed only by his vast knowledge of the local terrain and perhaps his disarming blue eyes and muscular physique. The heat builds up fast in this tropical paradise, as Ellie tries to maintain her false identity, while staying one step ahead of her pursuers, and out of the arms of her disarmingly handsome guide. Book provided for review by Amazon Vine. ( )
  Ronrose1 | Oct 13, 2016 |
This book really did have the feel and experience of Indiana Jones. However, Ellie was the female version of Indy. I loved that she was fearless and smart. Ellie and Adam's first meeting of each other may have been an enlightening one but I found them to make a great pair. As the story progressed, I even found Ellie to be a bit sassy. Although, even with her smarts, she really did owe Adam a lot of credit for getting her as far as he did.

The author did a very good job of describing everything in detail. Instantly, I got a mental picture of everything that Ellie and Adam encountered on their journey. There was never a dull moment. Which was very helpful as this helped keep my intrigue. In addition, to Ellie, Adam, and the legendary city of El Diablo. I read this book in two sittings. I anxiously look forward to reading more books by Jacquelyn Benson. ( )
  Cherylk | Sep 8, 2016 |
Eleanora Mallory is not happy: young, intelligent and university educated with a degree in natural science and ancient history, she nevertheless has to earn her living as the only female archivist in the Public Records Office – it is 1898, after all. While waiting in her superior’s office waiting to be officially dismissed from her job, she discovers an ancient psalter hiding a strange medallion and a map of a region in Central America. Having always dreamt of excavating an ancient civilisation and determined to investigate further, she ‘borrows’ the volume, but very soon it becomes apparent that she’s not the only interested party, and the two men who have been sent to retrieve it have been instructed to acquire it at all costs. Eleanora finds herself on the run to the colony of British Honduras, believing that she has shaken off her pursuers, but even in her wildest dreams she could not have imagined the adventure that is awaiting her …

I really don’t want to give anything more away about the plot suffice to say that it is a fast-paced adventure whose inspiration clearly lies with the Raiders of the Lost Ark and Romancing the Stone films, with a strong heroine at its centre; Eleanora Mallory is resourceful, plucky and determined and has much in common with the Amelia Peabody character in the historical mystery series penned by Elizabeth Peters. Apparently the author is an award-nominated playwright, and her ability to write with visuals and atmosphere in mind is very apparent here, the only surprise being that this is her debut novel, it is so assured.

Yes, it is pure escapism with a healthy pinch of hokum, with critics not being entirely unjustified to call the plot predictable in places, but in some way there lies a sense of enjoyment in this, in my opinion, as you sort of know what’s coming and can look forward to observing the characters having to deal with whatever the author decides to throw at them. I wouldn’t want to read this genre all the time, but I feel there needs to be a place for it in this hectic world where one can just take some time out and be transported to a different time and place, not having to think too much and enjoying being swept along by a good story. I always find that I’m on to a winner when I’m itching to go back to a book, which was definitely the case here.

Some of the plot strands are left deliberately open, so even though this could well be a stand-alone novel, the possibility of a sequel exists. I only finished reading this morning, but I already miss following Eleanora and the maverick archaeologist Adam Bates on their thrilling adventures. More please.

(This review was written for Amazon's Vine programme.) ( )
  passion4reading | Jun 3, 2016 |
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Thrilling adventure
à la Indiana Jones –
what is not to like?
(passion4reading)

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Frustrated suffragette and would-be archaeologist Ellie Mallory stumbles across a map to a city that shouldn't exist, a jungle metropolis alive and flourishing centuries after the Mayan civilization mysteriously collapsed. Discovering it would make her career, but Ellie isn't the only one after the prize. A disgraced professor and his ruthless handler are hot on her heels, willing to go any extreme to acquire the map for themselves. To race them through the uncharted jungle, Ellie needs a guide. The only one with the expertise is maverick surveyor Adam Bates. But with his determination to nose his way into Ellie's many secrets, Bates is a dangerous partner. As Ellie gets closer to her goal, she realizes it's not just her ambitions at stake. A powerful secret lies hidden in the heart of the city - and if it falls into the wrong hands, it could shake the very fate of the world.… (more)

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