Book Review: Inca’s Death Cave

By Bradford G. Wheler or Wheeler–differing reports

Being an armchair–and at-site–archaeologist, and loving any few weeks I get to spend in Peru, I was really looking forward to this one. Unfortunately there wasn’t much archaeology to it, though there was quite a bit of historical investigation. It ended up being more of a thriller with plenty of action sequences and technology. It’s obvious the guy knows his stuff, especially the technology, and has spent a considerable time in Peru.
And that’s all the good news. . .
Never have I been more conflicted about a book. There’s a lot that’s excellent here, with one plot linking together what are many smaller plots, filled with excellent characters. The history and technology are first rate, and all of this should have been very enjoyable.
The reading style started very flippant, which is saying a lot, considering I’m the one saying it. This could not last throughout an entire book, I thought, and I was right. . . too right. It turned bland in a hurry, but that’s just the tip of this amateurish iceberg.
This is the first real book written by Bradford Wheeler; the others are collections of quotes, which is obviously far different. Perhaps that’s where he got the idea for the incredibly numerous and tiny chapters, which was amazingly annoying.
The style, though I think I flatter it by using that word, is far too matter of fact. There’s tons of info dumps, just facts told in boring style as though by rote, and he doesn’t even have it in the run of things, but as dialogue! No one speaks like that. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s many empty unadorned “said” and “replied” and so on; completely useless without adverbs. Many useless “began” and “started” as well. This taking place in Peru, there’s a bit of Spanish, but he got the wrong gender more than once. And to strike in another of my pet peeves, he perpetuated the myth that no one knew about Machu Picchu until Bingham “found” it; not true.
It feels like a fan fiction. . . or rather, written by someone who’s only read amateur fan fiction and thought that was what writing is supposed to be: stilted and boring. The great part about the internet is that anyone can upload their art, but the downside is, of course, that anyone can upload their “art.” It’s obvious no editor was used; no publisher would have spent a dime on this. The author seems to be retired and apparently well off, so I’m wondering if he ever considered using a ghost writer to polish this thing up.
Yeah, probably not. . .
I suppose if you use this as a reference book, especially about emerging technologies, this might be worth looking up. Any other reason. . . avoid.

(BTW, this is by far the harshest review I’ve ever had to give; I’m gonna go take a long bath now. . .)


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