TRANSIT OF MERCURY By Simon Jones, Matador Books, s/b, £8.99
Reviewed by Matthew Johns
High-flying banker Tom Talbot thinks he’s got a pretty good life – house in the country, dog, a good job. Then suddenly it all falls apart around him. The investigation into fraud that he’s been running suddenly gets blamed on him and he loses his house, finds his dog murdered and becomes a terror suspect – all within the space of a day, poor chap.
He soon ends up in Florence, trying to find answers while a New York lawyer named Miranda Maddingley seeks answers of her own in the same city. A game of cat and mouse with a mysterious brotherhood ensues, bringing them together as they begin to realise that they may have met in a previous life…
Jones crafts a tale that feels very Dan Brown-like, but with a deep esoteric twist. Cryptic clues that have lain undiscovered and unsolved for centuries lead the protagonists through Florence seeking artefacts, facing the dangers of Serbian gangsters, Vatican hit squads and this mysterious brotherhood. At times gripping, educational (learning about the Medici family and Florence vicariously through Tom and Miranda’s adventures) and suspense-filled, if you like Dan Brown’s novels, you’ll like this.