The Hunters lack complexity
Author: Chris Kuzneski
A team of rogue experts and a mysterious billionaire seek the lost treasure of Romania – a Hollywood like, easy to read thriller, sometimes much too predictable.
The Hunters: a team of renegades – an ex-military leader, a historian, a computer whiz, a weapons expert and a thief – financed by a billionaire philanthropist are tasked with finding the world’s most legendary treasures , that’s how this new series by Chris Kuzneski is described. Eye-catching, you bet! If one adds the fact that the first novel in the series talks about the long lost treasure (lots of gold with an important historical value) of Romania, during the Second World War, of course I had to read it, though it’s not necessarily my cup of tea. Unfortunately, my expectations weren’t met. I thought of a smart treasure hunt narrative, but all I got was the “normal” thriller.
The book is filled with explosions, violence and the type of characters that “know it all, do it all, fight until the end”, reminding me of your average Holywood blockbuster - lots of visuals, less complexity. One can find all the generic characters – the geek that does wonders with his IT skills, yet is completely overwhelmed by the “warlike” situations, the tough girl that needs no help, the brilliant girl that must learn how to fight, the apparently ignorant guy that has almost impossible weapons skills and so on. Even the villains are too predictable, from the Russian mob to the Black Robes (Rasputin worshipers and cold blooded killers).
The writer focuses on the plot and the narrative is filled with descriptions of weaponry, luxurious or deserted places (like the village in the Carpathian Mountains) and touches of historical realism. I do appreciate this idea of mixing fiction with real facts, yet I feel that Kuzneski should have done a bit more on the historical side – he uses Russian words, Romanian words from time to time, but it’s all on a superficial level. If one expects a grounded research (as I did), one should not have high hopes in this regard.
It is a flashy kind of novel, with a fast pace and a great amount of visual effects – if you enjoy adrenaline filled situations and characters that fight their way out, this is just for you. From the sunny States to the cold and savage Siberian tundra, the characters run for their lives while fighting different factions that are interested in the treasure as well. Just like an Indiana Jones movie mixed with the “A” team and Dan Brown religious fanatics.
Yet, there are two characters that are different from the rest, far more complex and substantial – Dobrev, the old train specialist, and Borovsky, the Russian police officer with a highly guarded secret. Of course, there are a few clichés in their portrait as well, but I have to give them credit for their old-fashioned, classy style (the code of honour, their gentlemanly attitude under all circumstances etc.).
All in all, it is, from my point of view, a pastime novel that one may enjoy during a break, but only as your average pop culture narrative. The Hunters is a novel that resembles the glam of action films, so don’t set high expectations.
Easy to read and enjoy if you’re a fan of Indiana Jones/ The „A” team, inspired by a real fact
Characters lack complexity, too many clichés and quite predictable
For those who enjoy thrillers inspired by history, Dan Brown style