Chakana by W.E. Lawrence

four stars

chakanaIn a smashing text lively with adventure, romance, and history, Lawrence outlines the story of Kate Rhodes and her tomb raider-style excursion to Peru. Opening with a harrowing rescue by Kate of the Scottish James Fleming in 1934, Lawrence sets the stage for a fast-paced and thrilling story. Lawrence then implants his audience into the present, six years after James returns to his homeland for World War II and Kate becomes a sharp-shooting police officer. Chakana’s plot really begins, however, with Kate receiving a mysterious Incan artifact in the mail from her brother, along with a message that indicates his run-in with trouble in Peru because of it. After consulting a local university professor and discovering the breathtaking potential of this artifact, Kate and the professor embark upon a journey to track down her brother and uncover the truth. Along the way, Kate encounters old friends, new enemies, and an insidious plot implicating the entire Second World War.

Chakana is written for modern audiences looking for a slap-bang adventure brimming with intrigue and romantic tension. In this regard, Lawrence’s novel excels splendidly. Its simplistic style of narration makes it an easy read and highly accessible for a wide variety of audiences. However, it does rely a good deal on previously-existing tropes and clichés common to this type of genre. Much time is spent developing a plot that revolves around criminals, treasure, and escapades, and very little is reserved to dwell on character development or interesting new forays into the genre. Regardless, the book offers a drama that most people will heartily devour and which will have those people wondering where the time has gone after they’ve done so.

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