Mongolia and the Golden Eagle: An Archeological Mystery Thriller, by Bradford G. Wheler
Three out of five stars book
While there is a lot of archeology and Mongolian culture there is little in the area of mystery or thriller in this story. It is more in the area of an adventure, where the main characters of Cornell archeology Professor Robert Johnson and his colleague and former student Abbey Summers embark on a research trip to Mongolia. They are both plucked from their classrooms by a multi-million dollar grant provided by high-tech billionaire Walter Falone.
Explanations are in very short supply as they organize the expedition to supposedly search for caves that were inhabited by humans thousands of years ago. Yet, they develop a work plan, get organized and are on the ground in Mongolia. They meet with Mongolian government officials and begin working with park rangers and other Mongolians, including a former sumo wrestler.
The reader is exposed to a great deal of the history of Mongolia, including its being a country that the two powerful communist nations of the Soviet Union and China engaged in a major rivalry over for decades. Although neither country is really communist anymore, the rivalry persists.
I am not sure what the mystery is supposed to be in the story, at the end there is an event where it is possible that there will be a significant battle between Russia and China in Mongolia with the Johnson expedition caught in the middle. There is no mystery associated with the possible conflict, it is over some lost hi-tech property. There are some cyber security and spying aspects of the story, but none of them are very well done, they appeared to me to almost be afterthoughts or filler.
Given the history of Mongolia under the powerful Genghis Khan and the mighty empire he created there is a great deal of plot options that could have been developed. It is not inconceivable that all of Asia and Europe could have developed while speaking Mongolian. However, Wheler chooses to include many different aspects, trying to combine archeology, Mongolian culture, Asian geopolitical rivalry and good old fashioned spying. However, none of them are done very well, Wheler simply included too many things to expand them all out well.
This book was made available for free for review purposes