It is helpful that NOBLE’S GOLD by W.C. Craddock begins with a synopsis of the novel’s complicated storyline so that readers have an idea of what to expect from the weighty tome, and hopefully not get lost in its complex series of twists and turns. The underlying plot sounds simple enough: Sam Lee Noble has always wanted to write a book and now that he’s approaching retirement he finally goes for it, jumping headfirst into all the subject matter that has long interested him. Here’s the rub though: his day job is being a courier with the U.S. State Department and he makes an innocent-seeming decision to send sample chapters of his magnum opus in progress via inter-agency mail to his friend Archie Jefferson, a photocopy repair guy at the secretive Studebaker organization, which just happens to have top secret Operation GERDA (Gold Extraction and Relocation for Defense of America) underway. But the subject matter of Sam’s book includes many possibly suspect topics, such as the hidden history of the Knights Templar, ancient mysteries of pyramids and in the Antarctic, oh and there is also much discussion of a mystical mineral known as gold. So Archie and Sam are flagged as potential domestic terrorists and the fun begins with investigative agencies becoming involved, but what becomes most challenging as Craddock’s book advances is that it switches repeatedly between scenes of protagonist Sam Noble’s past life to scenes of various mysteries unfolding historically in the book Sam is writing–lengthy exposition that is both factual and sometimes completely speculative, without necessarily acknowledging what has been proven true in real life, versus what is possibly true and/or just entirely fiction. There’s exploration of navigational longitude, ancient Moors, the Kabbalah tradition, the Ark of the Covenant, etc. and most segments are interesting in and of themselves, but it can be difficult at points to see how these topics relate to each other and to always feel connected to precisely where exactly one is within Sam’s main storyline. Especially engaging is gold’s secret to immortality, loyally guarded into contemporary times by a fellow still alive though he was born long, long ago. A hyperlinked Table of Contents would be particularly useful in a book of this length and density.
Since original testers of the atomic bomb thought collateral damage might include setting fire to Earth’s atmosphere yet those involved moved forward with the test anyhow, the premise of a lack of regard for planet Mars should gold be potentially harvestable in bulk there by less than environmental-friendly means rings quite true in
W.C. Craddock’s unusually provocative tale, NOBLE’S GOLD, is populated with many inventive ideas that make it well worth a careful read.
~C.S. Holmes for IndieReader