Title: The Treasure
Author: Julien Ayotte
Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Romance
The Treasure by Julien Ayotte begins with Sebastian Reynolds, a columnist for a newspaper in Nova Scotia, receiving correspondence from a retired Army colonel, Jerome Woodrow, about two boxes he received from his late Army friend, Brad Cunningham. The boxes are filled with treasure maps, old letters, and nineteenth-century gold coins, and as Jerome tells Sebastian, these boxes contain the first steps to finding buried treasure. Together, Sebastian and Jermone enlist the help of several experts and board a treasure-seeking boat to the South Pacific to find this treasure.
The Treasure is a page-turner from page one, as the action starts right away. For readers who enjoy action/adventure stories that are rife with mystery, Ayotte’s novel is a perfect fit. Add in the angle that Brad Cunningham, the original owner of the boxes, didn’t die naturally and may have been murdered, and this novel includes more mystery and an element of thrill and suspense. Ayotte’s story offers something for almost every reader, including romance, so his potential audience is broad.
The author keeps the reader engaged by constantly introducing a new element to the story, whether it be a character, a challenge, a conflict, or a place. The characters travel much of the world in their search, which eventually leads them to an uninhabited real-life island called Henderson Island in the South Pacific.
Ayotte clearly researched extensively for writing this novel. He employs the useful technique of having one character explain a new concept or how something works to another character as a means of giving the reader necessary information, but without an information overload or being uninteresting. Many fascinating topics such as how a search-and-salvage vessel works, the different jobs each person has on the mission, and the rules and regulations involved in such trips fill the pages. Especially intriguing is learning what it’s like to cross the Panama Canal and that Henderson Island is one of four islands called the Pitcairn Islands, only one of which is inhabited by about fifty residents.
Ayotte writes the romance portions tastefully. The romance is between older adults, which is refreshing. The characters show a maturity from life experience that is often lacking in most romance novels, likely because the characters in many such books are in their twenties or thirties. The romance is also sweet and not graphic, so readers do not need to be concerned about such content.
Although the novel is a page-turner, the part of the story where the team actually boards the boat and searches for the treasure does not happen until the latter half. For readers who may be interested in the actual physical treasure hunt, the timing may turn them off. The wait is worth it, however, as Ayotte builds up the story and paces the tale well to provide a satisfactory climax and ending. The denouement runs on the longer side from most novels, but it works for this story. The retired Army colonel, Jerome, has many people to thank by the end, and it is a gratifying way to finish the book.
For readers who love a good treasure-hunting story, The Treasure is a rewarding journey. The Treasure offers a bit of something for almost every type of reader. Ayotte’s novel is a fast-paced, exciting story that will keep the reader invested until the last page.
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