Five stars from Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite
Aldaraia is the first engrossing entry in the Matthew Bishop series by Burt Clinchandhill and fans of conspiracy and mystery will be hooked from start to finish. Jennifer Porter’s father dies from a mysterious illness, leaving a lot of his life’s work undone. Jennifer is left with a book that is four hundred years old; Aldaraia sive Soyga voco’r or “The Book of Soyga.” The book is written in an unknown, cryptic language. Jennifer’s father had been trying to decode the message of the book before his death. Now, she is obsessed with it and only one person can help her in decoding the message; Yale professor Matthew Bishop. To uncover the secrets of the book, they have to locate hidden scrolls scattered around the world. But they are not the only ones in search of truth in the mysterious book as there are others who will kill to unravel the greatest secret on earth.
Aldaraia is a story that fans of Dan Brown will adore. It is cleverly plotted and the code in The Book of Soyga becomes the central ingredient in the development of the conflict. From page to page, the reader encounters characters that are sophisticated and skillfully developed – from Jennifer’s family and the experience of her father’s illness to complex characters like the occult philosopher, John Dee. The story is told in different timelines and it is fascinating how the author uses his skill to build suspense. Burt Clinchandhill is a great storyteller with a unique gift for elegant prose, great dialogues, and characters that arrest the attention of readers. The story is fast-paced and the tension ramps up pretty fast, escalating towards a delightful and explosive conclusion. It is a real page-turner for fans of mystery and I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.
Five stars from Michelle Stanley for Readers’ Favorite
Aldaraia, Book 1 in the Matthew Bishop series is a thriller by Burt Clinchandhill. Poland 1604, John Dee entrusted his friend with The Book of Soyga for safekeeping. Its unique secrets could change the world for better or worse. London 2008, antiquarian Robert Porter purchases the book at an auction and attempts to decipher its ancient cryptic writing. He dies from a mysterious ailment, leaving the artifact to his daughter, Jennifer. She asks Professor Matthew Bishop to help decode the book, but some of the riddled content is missing. The deciphered clues take them to Poland, but they’re unaware of being followed. A priest who assists them is killed, and the two soon realize how risky their quest has become.
Aldaraia is a riveting “must-read ” for anyone who likes adventure, religious mysteries, and conspiracies similar to The Da Vinci Code. This fast-paced story is on the lighter side, but still contains all the usual mind-boggling theoretical, biblical, historical references, and riddles that make these books so exciting to read. Each chapter is about a specific time period where sufficient information on the superb characters and their intentions are provided, thus strengthening the development of the ensuing drama. Burt Clinchandhill was extremely thorough in his research as a few names, locations, and facts that I checked are accurate. He has also included two interesting book excerpts from Lemuria, Book 2 in the Matthew Bishop series, and Eloah: No Heaven by Lex Allen. I enjoyed reading this novel.
Five stars from Steven Robson for Readers’ Favorite
Aldaraia: Matthew Bishop Book 1 by Burt Clinchandhill engages you in a race to solve a mystery, steeped in the prized translations of John Dee, a 16th and 17th-century mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occultist, and alchemist; a mystery of profound consequences to the human race. Dee had been working to translate a sacred text called Aldaraia sive Soyga vocor (The Book of Soyga) and when he felt death was approaching, he handed over his work to his good friend Olbracht Laski. These documents are purchased by Robert Porter, a collector of rarities, at an auction of Laski’s possessions in 2008, and this becomes the catalyst to ignite a global hunt for the ultimate of human desires. Jennifer Porter, Robert’s daughter, enlists Professor Matthew Bishop and Walker Monroe on a quest to find answers to her father’s research, and their efforts propel you to an ultimate climax that will have you astounded by secrets revealed and possibilities unimagined.
Burt Clinchandhill takes Aldaraia to a whole new level of gripping reads, being one of those rareties where you know you will love the book after only reading just a few pages. Besides the high standard of characterization, where individuals and relationships are crafted beautifully, Aldaraia extends even further by offering relevant and engaging graphics throughout. I loved the inclusion of these images and, for me, they brought me into the story most effectively and made me feel as if I was part of the investigative process. Another aspect that was first-rate was the inclusion of pertinent factual information, which I found most interesting, relating to things such as the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Kabbalah, the language of Enochian, and many other historical and locational gems included in Aldaraia. If you love a great adventure, mixed with a learning experience and wonderful all-round entertainment, then this is the book for you.