The Secret Chamber

by Patrick Woodhead (Arrow Books) ISBN: 978 1 848 09078 1


In The Secret Chamber, Luca Matthews is tasked to find an English doctor who has disappeared into dark heart of the Congo.


Luca is the hero of Woodhead’s previous novel, The Forbidden Temple, but this new novel can be read as a stand-alone. He is helped by plucky pilot and mining trouble shooter Bear Makuru, one of the more interesting characters in the story.


The story is good, filled with intrigue, conspiracy and adventure. The writing is good, too. However, not ten pages in, the author puts Bloemfontein in the middle of the Kalahari Desert. Perhaps he meant on the border of the Karoo, but the geographical blunder does lose him points.


Many of the minor characters are fairly one-dimensional and stereotypical. Some of his descriptions of Afrikaners would be comical, if they didn’t smack of some kind of bigotry on the author’s part.


Then again, a bit of controversy never hurt a book before. We’ll have to see if Patrick Woodhead becomes the new Wilbur Smith.


Faith Parker



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Posted on: 7th May 2012