Book Reviews

Review Rating

With the October 2004 review, we began rating the books on the basis of one to four trowels; 
one trowel= don’t bother, to four trowels= run right out to your local book store and buy the hard cover!

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Nine Lords of the Night by E.C. Gibson

Reviewed on: August 1, 2002

Embella, Inc.
2002 (e-book)

E.C. Gibson’s Nine Lords of the Night is a lengthy (500+ pages) archaeology thriller that follows the adventures of several young Harvard doctoral students through a thicket of intrigue that takes one or more of them from the ivy-covered environs of Harvard to Florida to Belize, Guatemala and Chiapas State in Mexico. Against a background of the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas in 1993 and 1994, the young archaeologists face a brutal band of antiquities smugglers whose tentacles stretch back to the hallowed ground of Harvard Yard. He artfully weaves throughout the story the brooding presence of the ancient gods of the Mayan peoples, particularly the Nine Lords of the Night, who rule Xibalba, the Mayan underworld.

Gibson is a Ph.D. anthropologist from Harvard with excavation experience in Central America, France, Polynesia and North America. His technical expertise in archaeology is evident throughout the story, albeit in prose that is sometimes rather wooden. His descriptions of various locales are vivid and true to life, whether it be Cambridge, Massachusetts, or its working class and student affordable sister city, Somerville, or more exotic environs like Belize or archaeological sites like Yaxchilan in Chiapas State or Tikal in Guatemala.

As indicated above, this is an “e-book,” and the first that I’ve purchased or read. The book is published, if that’s the correct term, by Embella, Inc., a “broadband content publishing company delivering private label rich-media content, applications and simulations through a sophisticated Web services platform.” I’m not certain what all (or any) of that means, but I was able to purchase the e-book for $9.99 (charged to my credit card) and I then received instructions on how to access it. One can apparently download the book to a palm pilot, or similar electronic device, but one cannot print it out to hardcopy. I have only a desktop computer so this meant I would not be reading Nine Lords in bed just before going to sleep! Because the story is a good one, reasonably well written and fast-paced, I could keep at it despite the inconvenience (for me) of reading it off a computer screen. From my neo-Luddite perspective, I do not think the printed book (hardcover or paperback) is yet in danger of extinction because of the existence of e-books!

Available in print or Kindle.