Author Colin Andrews opens up his first novel like a poker dealer dishing out several hands at once. You are introduced to several characters in short order as the action gets fired up right away. It hardly slows down from that point, whisking the reader along for the ride.
In the beginning it can be a little difficult to keep track of all of the different characters but that settles down once Andrews focuses the story into two main threads, one involving Archaeologist Mark Gillian, his students and the other involving a pair of special operation soldiers, Cook and Oz. Our plucky band of adventurers span the globe racing to discover the mystery behind ancient ruins and mysterious artifacts as they uncover a plot that could change the world.
The story has a good dose of National Treasure and Indiana Jones with a dash of The A-Team thrown in for good measure. The Phoenix Group: Rising is a large story to tell for a new writer but Andrews pulls it together.
The novel was little light on character development in the beginning of the story and I found myself with some questions about the characters I wanted answered. There are some details that might have been fleshed out a bit more like the origin of the attraction between two of the principal characters and the background of the soldiers. Whether that was done to keep the story pace consistent or to save details for the next installment, we'll have to wait for the sequel to find out. I won't say that it felt like a distraction from the story, I really didn't. It was just my impression and more a matter of personal taste than anything.
There were some minor issues with editing that often crop up in independent books. (One of the reasons I have not finished any my own work. I'm too busy fixing my typos and grammatical goof ups to get it done...) There were some punctuation issues and a few spots where phrases were repeated a few times but those mistakes tapered off pretty quickly. I was able to immerse myself in the story and enjoy the ride. When writing my review, I try to boil my experience down to whether or not I enjoyed the story and would read follow up work from the author.
The answer to both of those questions is an emphatic yes.