Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
February 06, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Codex

Current Status
In Season
Douglas Preston
Mystery and Thriller

We gave it an A-

This thriller is so movie-friendly it demands a logline: Consider it ”Raiders of the Lost Ark” meets ”The Amazing Race.” When a millionaire eccentric finds out his cancer has advanced, he informs his three estranged sons that if they want their inheritance, they’ll have to find the tomb in which he’s hidden himself and his treasures. Soon, the three men begin fighting the jungle, various psychopaths, and each other for the loot, which includes millions of dollars of art and the Codex, a priceless Mayan manuscript. While the novel seems destined — and designed — for Hollywood (producer Lynda Obst is thanked in the acknowledgments), Preston doesn’t cheat his readers out of a fast-paced, clever adventure.

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