Romulous Hardy (Rom) is a young Egyptologist, in over his head on his first dig and constantly playing catch-up with the figures around him. He narrates the story from decades after the fact, so that immediately removes some of the tension, and he tends to wallow in deep thoughts and philosophical musings, which often drags the story to a halt. It is entirely fitting for the pulp Victorian adventure genre, but it still makes for a difficult read.
Unfortunately, the most interesting secondary character dies before the book hits 100 pages, and the characters who join Rom later (especially Evangeline) are simply not strong enough to carry a story. Maybe it's just hard to capture their personality through Rom's narration, but that excuse doesn't help the story.
The other problem for me was that this epic, pulp adventure tale of hidden tombs and mummies suddenly shifts genres into a violent western, complete with bandits, cowboys, and a great train robbery, and that's not the story I wanted to read. I got bored, plain and simple. I started skimming passages, then pages, and finally chapters, hoping for another shift in a better direction, but it was not to be.
There is a sequel on the way, The Beast of Nightfall Lodge, but being that it's another story of Rom and Evangeline, I doubt I'll be giving it a read.
Paperback, 448 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Angry Robot