Around Nantucket Island, brutal crime scenes are peppered with ancient coins, found by the one man who can unlock their meaning. But what do the coins have to do with the crimes? Or the sudden disease epidemic? Even the creature? And who–or what–left them?
The answer leads reporter Simon Stephenson on a journey through ancient mythology, numismatics, and the occult. Not to mention his own past, which turns out to be even darker than he’d realized; his murdered father was a feared arms dealer, after all. Along the way, Simon battles panic attacks and a host of nasty characters — some natural, others less so — while his heiress fiancee goes bridezilla, and a gorgeous rival TV reporter conceals her own intentions.
Prior to delving into the Last Ancient I made the decision to peek at previous reviews of the work, a practice that I do not often do. Reviewers compared Baker’s debut piece with that of the likes of mystery-thriller great, Dan Brown. As a reader and reviewer, this sets the bar rather high, yet as soon as I began reading The Last Ancient, Baker had me drawn in, hook, line, and sinker.
The life of Simon Stephenson is one that most would envy. Spending summers on the posh end of Nantucket’s high society, adventures around the glove while enjoying the best of everything in life. Simon’s young life was a step above unique and wondrous. That is, until Simon evolved from naïve young socialite to prize winning journalist, with the biggest story of his career ending in the downfall of his arms dealing father. Years after the story of Simon’s career, which had forever demonized his father, Simon has returned, the prodigal son, to his beloved Nantucket where a strange infection has turned the deer population psychotic, where murder is around every corner, and where a secret larger than anything Simon could ever imagine waits in the shadows. Filled with intrigue, action, and mystery past reviewers were well to note Baker in the same class with Brown.
Baker writes with a sophistication that illustrates the influences he has garnered from his personal life and educational experience. Blending fictional undertones to a book that encompasses history, mythology, economics, genetics, and evolutionary sciences is not a small feat, yet is one that Baker has done with the skill of a true master of fiction. I would highly suggest The Last Ancient as a must read.