BOOK CLUB: The Emerald Tablet

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Author: Meaghan Wilson Anastasios
RRP: $29.99
Publication Date: 25 June 2019
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

The Emerald Tablet by Meaghan Wilson Anastasios features Benedict Hitchens the archaeologist she first introduced readers to in The Honourable Thief. As in that novel Meaghan’s expertise and skill as an archaeologist in the Mediterranean and Middle East and a fine art auctioneer provides great insight and knowledge.

The story is set in the time of the Suez Canal Crisis of 1956 and the novel is interspersed with reports of the international events taken from The Times newspaper.  The novel also includes a useful map of the area which I found myself referring to a couple of times to check where the action was taking place in relation to the international events. 

In The Emerald Tablet Benedict is reunited on his journey with his friend Ilhan Aslan who featured in The Honourable Thief.  Benedict is enjoying a fairly (in his terms) quiet life but when he learns that Eris, (known as Essie Peters in this novel) who betrayed him, is part of a team heading for the Sinai Desert to search for The Emerald Tablet he can’t help himself he has to join the search.  He is obsessed with beating her and we soon learn Benedict is on her mind too.  While Benedict is still the main character of the novel we learn much more of Essie and her story.  I found myself having sympathy for her character and all she has gone through as I learnt more about her background.  I found the sexual deviants part of her story a little odd and out of place and to be honest didn’t know what some of the practices referred to are. But decided it’s probably best to remain ignorant and not search the internet for clarification.

This is a fairly violent novel at times, some of the deaths are pretty horrible.  However the descriptions of the cities and landscapes are very evocative and I was left with the impression that the Middle East is a fascinating, beautiful and sacred place.  Josef Garve, another character from the first novel, is part of the team with Essie and of course getting back at Benedict is also on his agenda. I did enjoy this novel but more so because of learning more about Essie than Benedict and would be keen to read the next novel in the series if it features Essie’s story in greater detail.

Thanks to the Beauty and Lace Book Club and Pan Macmillan Australia for the opportunity to read this enjoyable novel.

This guest review was submitted by Jacky, one of our Beauty and Lace Club members. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Jacky.

The Emerald Tablet is published by Pan Macmillan and is available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan 10 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are currently reading The Emerald Tablet and you can read their thoughts on the book in the comments below, please be aware there may be spoilers.

9 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Emerald Tablet

  1. I was very happy to have been chosen to read this book having read her previous one The honourable Thief. This book will relate to those interested in history and archaeological history at that.

    The emerald tablet can be read in conjuncture with The honourable thief but it stood up well enough to be read alone as well and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Meaghan Anastasios has a knack for writing exactly how it would be in the time period, the countryside, the city life and the people in it. The story moved along at a fast pace and developed into a full circle with a twist at the end leaving it wide open to interpretation of another book which I would not hesitate to read.( meaning I hope there is!)

    Benedict lived up to his character if not a little bit mellowed by age perhaps, and we also see the involvement of other characters from the previous book as well as new ones.

    Thank you for the chance to read this book. Also well done to Jacky for a delightful review!

  2. The second Benedict Hitchens story and he is plagued by the woman who betrayed him in book 1 (The Honorable Thief). Finally having a life that he wanted, doing what he enjoys, digging up the past in an archeological dig that he controls. He has a good woman in his life and things are going well, until a visit from his favourite policeman, Hasan Demir, brings the evil in his life back to life… the woman who seduced and betrayed him, that he just cannot shake. The opportunity to have his revenge on her, to find his own justice oh so tempting, he loses the woman in his life and sets off to find the emerald tablet.
    Hitchens isn’t the only one looking for the tablet. Under the guise of a war over the Suez canal, the English are in the picture, the Russians also want this trophie, the thing that could bring power to those who have it, both evil and good. Taking his good friend (and bad influence) Ilhan on the journey, trouble and death follow Hitchens to find the evidence to locate the tablet. Can he find it before those also seeking it, among them the man who is resposible for the death of his wife?
    A great sequel to the first book this was a pleasure to read and a great story. While it does tend to rely on knowledge from the first book in the series it is possible that it may stand alone. But really worth getting both books to get the whole picture.
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace book club for giving me an amazing opportunity to read the new Benedict Hitchens tale!

  3. I too found the sexual content made the book seam disjointed and unnecessary. I’ve read 3 quarters of the book but not being drawn back to finish it.

    1. I can well understand your feelings with this, Suzy. I honestly feel the book needs a “graphic sexual content” warning.

  4. The Emerald Tablet

    This is the second book in the series featuring Benedict Hitchens, an American archeologist. The first book being ‘The Honourable Thief’, but you don’t have to have read the first book before this one, although it does help with a bit of background.

    Benedict is now searching for the Emerald Tablet but he is also searching for Eris the woman who betrayed him in ‘The Honourable Thief’. Eris is on the hunt for the tablet and Benedict must find it before her otherwise it could end up in the wrong hands and alter the world. The emerald tablet is an artefact that allegedly holds powerful elements.

    I love archaeology and a good story and The Emerald Tablet has a bit of everything – history, adventure, romance and intrigue. A real Indiana Jones thriller.

  5. The Emerald Tablet

    This book was the second in a series featuring American archaeologist, Benedict Hutchins. I had not read the first book in the series, so this was my first introduction to Hutchins and his past lover/current nemesis Eris. In many ways the book works as a standalone, although I think I would have understood more of the motivations and drive behind key characters had I read the previous book.

    As a history lover, I wanted to enjoy this book, and in a lot of ways it was perfectly enjoyable. The descriptions of interesting locations throughout the world were vivid and the inclusion of accompanying ‘news’ articles to support and drive the narrative were well done. The story had a lot of threads which became difficult to follow in places, but overall the arc was interesting and the tension was tightly wound. There was some quite violent scenes and some oddly placed (and seemingly incongruous) sex scenes which actually detracted from the story fairly significantly – I am no prude but they just didn’t seem to fit.

    Overall, The Emerald Tablet was an enjoyable read that would suit anyone who enjoys history, archaeology and books like those written by Dan Brown.

  6. I’m pleased that I read The Honourable Thief, the first Benedict Hitchens novel by Meaghan Wilson Anastasios even though I felt it was over written and too wordy because The Emerald Tablet wouldn’t have been as meaningful or interesting, I believe, without the background of the first novel.

    I thoroughly enjoyed much of The Emerald Tablet and particularly enjoyed the excellent way total fantasy is blended with absolute fact. I was very interested in the Emerald Tablet as an ancient artefact which is believed to be real. The setting of this novel with the Suez Canal Crisis in 1956 with extracts from The Times, London, is masterful. The story is believable in many aspects, parts that sound reasonably fanciful don’t detract from the story. I particularly liked the way fact was woven with fantasy.

    The author is well qualified to write about aspects of archaeology with her background as an archaeologist and this makes many aspects of the story believable while blending fantasy (to me) with reality. I definitely agree with others that the graphic sexual content was often strange – detailed happenings at what I imagine is an orgy I could well have done without. I’d be horrified with a teenager who is passionate about archaeology reading this because of that aspect. I really did wonder whether a warning regarding graphic sexual content should have been noted.

    I found the map to be a particularly helpful addition with my knowledge of The Sinai Peninsula sketchy and I referred to the map frequently. I felt the characters were well drawn and their actions for the most part believable.

    While I definitely wouldn’t compare the Ben Hitchens’ novels to Dan Brown, as Saturday Age did, I found the book to be interesting and an enjoyable read. Thank you for the opportunity, Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillan. If there is a follow on it will be one I will definitely read.

  7. The Emerald Tablet by Meaghan Wilson Anastasios takes us on a journey to far flung places with Archaeologist, Benedict (Ben) Hitchens. Readers were introduced to Ben Hitchens in M. Anastasios’s previous book The Honourable Thief set the previous year. I would suggest that it would be beneficial to have read the previous book to better follow the storyline and understanding the relationships between certain pivotal characters in this novel.
    In this book former disgraced archaeologist, Hitchen’s appears to be attempting to lead a life on the “right” side of the law. He is soon embroiled in an adventurous race to outwit and outsmart those that have previously betrayed him, the beautiful Eris and Josef Garve to be the 1st to discover an ancient, hidden artefact.
    I found that the The Emerald Tablet was an easier read than the previous book. The plot of The Emerald Tablet did not reference previous events so often but instead followed dual journeys of Ben and Eris as each tried to decipher the clues and find the location of the much sought after ancient artefact, the Emerald Tablet. A relatively fast paced novel with enough action to ensure that readers would be kept engaged. My only criticism of this novel is that I am not certain that the newspaper reports included added value to the story as a whole to this reader. I understand they were included to give perspective on the political nature and manipulation of events in the area at the time but after reading a few and finding they offered limited extra value to me I found that I simply skimmed quickly though them for the duration of the novel.
    Thank you, Beauty and Lace Bookclub, Pan Macmillion Australia and Meaghan Wilson Anastasios for the opportunity to read and review The Emerald Tablet.

  8. And so another chapter begins.

    While some of the scenes seemed a little out of place and without purpose, for the most part I really enjoyed this next installment of Ben’s adventures.

    The imagery and characters are made for the big screen and it’s really easy to imagine the actors, scenery and soundtrack that will bring the story to life.

    A little harder reading to start with but once the story developed and the character’s relationships were built the story flowed well.

    While the book could be read as a stand alone novel, having read the first story definitely helped me make sense in the second.

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