Paperback: 203 pages
Publisher: STARbooks Press (June 30, 2008)
Genre: Gay Adventure
Main Characters: Luca da Roma, Dr Eden Santiago, Shane Houston, Will Hunter, Jake Stone
Book Origin: Personal Library
Somewhere in the world is a statue so sinful that a secret sect of the Church wants it destroyed at any cost. Somewhere in the Turkish desert, in the streets of London, and in the depths of Venice, are the clues to find it. And, somewhere in the hearts of five sexy, daring, thrill-seeking gay men, is the courage and die-hard determination to unravel one of the greatest mysteries of all time.
Meet Luca da Roma, an Italian model and expert in art, both ancient and modern; Dr Eden Santiago, Brazilian biologist, physician and genetic engineer; Shane Houston, a Texas cowboy and an expert in cartography; Will Hunter, a San Diego college student and football star, majoring in ancient history; and Jake Stone, an adventurer-for-hire from New York and the newest member of Professor Fathom's team of hot gay adventure seekers.
Together, they are Fathom's Five, traveling the world, solving ancient mysteries, uncovering priceless treasures, and getting into hot, sticky and sexy situations, while thwarting danger at every turn! From Venice to Vienna, from Tuscany to Turkey, from the South Pacific to the seas off Sicily, join in the heroic adventures, hunky sex and hot, high-octane action of Fathom's Five.
Many of you may already have felt the effect of how Twitter can add to your TBR pile. Now I can’t remember how or why I started to follow @fanthomsfive, I only know in the end that I did. When I opened my tweetdeck one morning a tweet of this author popped up with a link to his upcoming book; RIDDLES OF THE SAND. It lead me to read its synopsis and I knew I was in trouble, categorized in M/M adventure it was something I was more than willing to try. As his upcoming book was the second I went to my online bookstore and bought the first one in the Fanthom’s Five series; THE CROSS OF SINS.
I know my normal dish is romance but what captivated me in the synopsis of THE CROSS OF SINS were the five distinctive men, the forbidden artifacts, the hidden clues for the group to uncover and the promise of rip-roaring action. So when my copy arrived it was practically demanding to be read at once. I started in the book to be immediately ensnared by the introduction of five incredibly smart, capable and adventurous men who all have an area of expertise. One by one I got to meet them: Jack Stone is a treasure hunter – Eden Santiago is a medic – Will Hunter is still in college and majoring in ancient history – Luca da Roma is a gorgeous Italian model who knows his art and last but not least I got to meet Shane Houston, a cowboy who knows the lands like no other. The synopsis already tells you in essence who is who but as I read the story they became three dimensional for me. Each one is a vibrant man with a life force that makes them aim for it all. They live life on the sharpest edge to uncover the mysteries buried by time. The person at foundation of this group is a blind professor named Maximilian Fanthom and doted on by his housekeeper, Fraulein Elsa Strauss.
Jack Stone began the story as he is hired by Perron to uncover The Devil of Kahna Toga and from there on it is like a rollercoaster ride. The first seventy five pages are focused on introducing the characters but also lead me down the trail of where the plot was going. I was intrigued by each of the five men as they came to life for me via the pages with their own personalities, vulnerabilities and quirks. Their passion is just as much an intricate part as their adventurous nature, and believe me, Geoffrey Knight knows how to skillfully intertwine the gay sexuality within this story. It is done with a natural voice keeping the emphasis on the sultry act of two men creating fierce body heat together. So there is definitely an erotically element but it isn’t the primary focus of THE CROSS OF SINS.
What was making me rapidly flip the pages beside wanting to know more about this group was the plot. Though I will say that, perhaps due to the two hundred page long story, I felt that at times a plot twist was running a bit too smoothly and conveniently for it to feel like an insurmountable obstacle. Still, Knight understands the need to keep the story at a certain pace, to have revelations at key moments, to keep me bound to the pages and also the value of a formidable archenemy for the Fanthom’s Five. The Crimson Crown with The Holy Father, The Holy Son and The Holy Ghost added thrills that I appreciate within this kind of storytelling. The synergy between the two groups delivered some exhilarating chases and a climactic ending.
Geoffrey Knight’s writing style is very crisp, hands on and holds a direct approach to certain matters but it also contains humor that can elevate a dire situation. As the plot steamrolled along, as various evil doers get revealed, as puzzles get solved I also got to know Jack, Will, Eden, Luca and Shane better. This is something I love in a book, to have the plot fuel the deepening of characterization. Besides uncovering great treasures each man has a personal life and history which appealed to me as much as the plot does. Luca is the one who intrigues the life out of me as he is raised by three nuns and only has a necklace that links him to his past. In the end all the guys made me long for RIDDLES IN THE SAND, just to catch up with them again.
THE CROSS OF SINS was a remarkable introduction to a new author and I am instantly hooked to the Fanthom’s Five. Adventure mixed with gay passion and great dialogues that is steeped with intelligence and male vigor, it all became synonymous with Geoffrey Knight’s writing style. I am most definitely up for the second round!
Quote Perron to Jake:
“Some people make great entrances. Other’s make memorable exits. You, my friend, seem to do both.”