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Along with most of the other books I have reviewed thus far, “The Third Translation” is marketed in the genre of The Davinci Code.  If that genre is what you are looking for look elsewhere. In fact, almost whatever you looking for - look elsewhere.

The Third Translation revolves around  Walter Rothschild, a middle aged Egyptologist. Rothschild is obsessed with Egypt, but particularly heiroglyphics and ancient cryptology. He is so obsessed that he has alienated all of his friends and family.

Rothschild's specific obsession is with the Stella of Paser, a slab of stone with some text written on it in Hieroglyphics. Supposedly there are three ways to read the Heiroglyphics (vertically, horizontally, and an unknown Third Way).

This book has essentially no coherent plot. Random plot diversions come up all the time, that are never really resolved, as if the author is getting high, and writing down his stream of thought. For example, Rothschild randomly runs into some American Pro Wrestlers in the streets of London, who are apparently just out there to party. Later on, the wrestlers are somehow the bodyguards of the secret cult that is also trying to translate the Stella.

The book jumps back and forth between the present, and various times in Rothschilds past, all the time, very confusingly, and often without purpose.

The book gets into way too much uninteresting detail about Heiroglyhpics, and I say this as someone who loves ancient egypt (see my King Tut post for example)

You know that guy who is obsessed with some topic? Football, Anime, D&D, whatever - and no matter what you are talking about, he will bring up his favorite topic and show how the current item and his topic are closely related? The author, Bondurant, is that guy.  Female bodies, political intriege, chineese noodles, curry, emotions, are all repeatedly and tediously used as targets of Hierogrphical allegory.

Anyway, avoid this book. There are much better novels about Egypt, much better mysteries, much better books. Go watch paint peel, you will enjoy it more.



This novel gave me a big case of the blue balls. It builds and builds and builds. And in the end, there is no climax. There is no big mystery, the cult is just deranged, the stella has no third translation, and the entire novel has been a big exsistential jerk off. With no climax.

Posted on Wednesday, September 6, 2006 7:30 AM books | Back to top

Comments on this post: The Third Translation by Matt Bondurant - A Book Review by Jason Coyne

# re: The Third Translation by Matt Bondurant - A Book Review by Jason Coyne
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I could not agree more!!
Left by Glen on Nov 15, 2011 3:31 PM

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