Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Codex 632 by Jose Rodrigues Dos Santos


One word sentences almost always fail. I don't think I've come across any that hook. The only thing good about them is that they are so short they almost don't count and someone would have to be really anal retentive to stop reading a book after only one word. These one word openings are almost always a prelude and the real test is what the next sentence is.

The old historian couldn't know that he only had four minutes left to live.

Thus begins the ticking time bomb plot device, a usually effective and suspenseful device. The next paragraph begins:

The hotel elevator seemed to wait to trap him with wide-open doors.

I like the use of verbs in this sentence. Not the linking verb seem but wait and trap. these verbs draw the image that the elevator can be likened to the jaws of death. The paragraph then proceeds to describes the historian. The next paragraph is one word again:


Something happens and then:


You get the idea. This prologie (disposable characters that die in prologues) is running out of time, and we all know how that ends.

Chapter 1:

Had someone told Thomas Noronha, that morning, that the next few months would take him all over the world and into the unraveling of a five-hundred-year-old conspiracy, complete with stories of seafaring adventures during the Age of Discovery, royal espionage between the first two global superpowers, and the esoteric world of Kabbalah and the Knights Templar, he wouldn't have believed it.

This reads like the query letter pitch to a literary agent introducing a book the author is seeking representation for. And why not? It isn't merely preamble - hinting that there is a story, but instead tells us ahead of time what to expect, whetting our curious and selling the premise. It has all the key words: Kabbalah, Knights Templar, conspiracy, esoteric and espionage. People who like these Dan Brown words will not be able to resist.

First thing said:

"Well, good morning."

The first thing said is a fail, though, as it does not develop plot, character, conflict, tone, mood, setting, theme or world view - it's just a boring salutation.

Verdict: Pass Definte

Theodore Moracht

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