The Navarre Brotherhood
By Tammy Wunsch
Professor Ella Chvalier is sitting at a cafe enjoying a book when bullets nearly kill her. She’s rescued by an enigmatic man who tells her someone is after her and what she knows about the treasure of the Knights Templar. Said treasure is the subject of her latest book. Soon, she’s kidnapped, rescued again, and off on an adventure that will take her to Scotland and France. She’s helped by a colleague and pursued by a ‘brotherhood’ determined to obtain the treasure and regain power.
Ah yes, another Templar quest. I’m always up for a good adventure and this one has the makings of a good one. Unfortunately, this is also strewn with problems. Even though the plot is fine-if familiar- it’s hampered by aspects that make the adventure of reading a rocky one.
Gabriella ‘Ella’ Chevalier: Medieval history professor at Columbia University, has a Ph.d, has a sister, long brown hair,
Callum Sinclair: Scottish, Columbia professor, owns a border collie, wears glasses (Callum, not the dog. Lol), owns a ship, has a Ph.d, has two brothers and a sister, attended Oxford
Jack St. Germaine: blue eyes, attended the Sorbonne
I like the characters, although I would have liked Ella a bit more if she had stronger fortitude (she tends to faint a lot). Callum’s family tree has branches all over the place and I didn’t bother trying to keep everyone straight. Several more characters come into play later on. Could have used a bit more physical description of Ella (and some of the others, too) as I didn’t have a good mental image of her.
A lot of action going on after the taglines that could be separate sentences. Some taglines that aren’t tags (…” she smiled. …” Ella distractedly waved… …” Ella nodded…). Smile and waved and nodded are actions, not vocalizations. A lot of ‘ly’ words describing how something is said. Action and the scene should show this.
Sometimes there are two tag lines. i.e. – “Do the police have the book?” he asked. “Are they testing it for gunshot residue or ballistics or anything else?” he asked anxiously. The second tag line isn’t needed and neither does the reader need to know he spoke anxiously. This is seen during the last couple of paragraphs. In one paragraph of dialogue and action, Ella is tagged three times.
Relatively short chapters. No profanity.
A lot of ‘ly’ words to describe action. A lot of repetitive words close together. i.e. Ella frowned in bewilderment… The next sentence has her staring in bewilderment.
A settlement on an island is spelled differently in two chapters.
Some sentences need re-working: i.e. – He removed his glasses and tried to smooth his hair into place with a sigh. How do you smooth hair with a sigh? i.e. – As he took his chair, he leaned in and lightly grasped Ella’s hand as he murmured… One of the words to avoid if possible is ‘as’.
A lot of overwriting. Too many unnecessary words. However…
Save for some lectures on Templar history, this story lacks some details. People and events are skimmed over: Ella’s kidnapping ordeal was more ‘telling’ than ‘showing. Callum’s ship’s description is glossed over. So are a lot of action scenes. (Many times the rescue comes way too quickly after the bullets start flying.) I wanted to slow down and have a good mental picture of everything but found myself thrown into the next scene. The wonderful islands and cities that are visited are barely if ever described. The chapters bounce from scene to scene without ever pausing to let the reader enjoy the scenery.
I thought the ‘reveal’ of who characters were was done too early. There wasn’t time for me to get settled in before, BAM. And for such a serious mission, with danger at any moment, there is a lot of sex happening in a number chapters.
Here’s an interesting question – Ella and Callum leave New York in short order. They’re gone for several days. Does anybody at Columbia wonder where they are? Callum, I sort of understand since he had planned his vacation. Part of the question is answered later.
One of the frustrating things about stories with so many errors, is I catch them right away. For instance all of the errors I mentioned were in the first forty-five pages. I know when there are so many problems at the beginning, they are going to continue throughout. This makes the story difficult to read and less enjoyable.
I debated between ranks, but remembering previous Camos I’d given I think I have to go with: