Jaya Jones is back with Quicksand and I have a new favorite author in Gigi Pandian. If you are an Indy fan and miss his exploits, I assure you Jaya Jones is going to be a worthy successor. Whether I am being fair in comparing them or not, I will let you decide once you learn more about this history professor who moonlights much outside the scope of her profession.
Jaya is half Indian, born to a hippie father and Indian mother. She lives in the Bay area and has some interesting friends. The magician Sanjay, a sexy librarian, an absent minded neighbor who writes poetry and Jaya herself who plays Tabla at an Indian restaurant are like a whiff of fresh air, and representative of the diverse nature of the Valley. Jaya is missing her ex beau who has been underground for a while. But then she is summoned to Paris on an all expense paid trip. There is just enough information to entice her and off she goes.
Jaya soon realizes that a web of deceit is closing in around her and she has been taken in under false pretenses. She is unwittingly involved in an art heist at the most famous art gallery, the Louvre, no less, and finds some ancient documents that hint at treasure. The history of Tipu Sultan, that fearless monarch of Mysore who offered formidable resistance to the British rule, is woven into the narrative.
Jaya Jones fights her morals but her interest in history and the lure of treasure proves to be too much. She rushes off across France to an ancient abbey, and ropes in a great magician friend of Sanjay’s for help. Saying anything more will just give away more spoilers.
I have been hooked onto treasure hunts ever since I read Treasure Island as a child. Movies like Indiana Jones, Fool’s Gold or The Mummy are my absolute faves. I haven’t read the earlier Jaya Jones books but I will say that Gigi Pandian has managed to create a multi faceted character that is not black or white but grey, and the story seems well researched and sounds plausible.
After my disappointing experience with The Fargos, I wholly recommend Quicksand for anyone who loves adventure and treasure hunts, and is open to diverse characters. Gigi Pandian’s Quicksand is definitely a must read!