Bill Cusumano, adult book buyer, Nicola's Books, AnnArbor, Mich.

In the 19th century, the equivalent of a blockbuster movie was a tense, thrilling novel, often told in serial form. We tend to forget that the modern novel need not be anything more significant than excellent entertainment, which is the perfect description of Charles Brokaw's The Atlantis Code (Forge, Nov.). Thomas Lourds, a linguist and archeologist, becomes involved in a frantic search for ancient musical instruments, inscribed in archaic languages, which could hold the key to the mystery of Atlantis and even of the Garden of Eden. He is accompanied by an ambitious TV producer, a nerd cameraman and a Russian police officer who serves as a one-woman SWAT team. Pursuing them are a group of mercenary killers under the direction of a cardinal who has lost all perspective on the role of the church. It all combines for a rollicking adventure, with nonstop action and suspense. Readers can only hope that Brokaw is prepared to send Professor Lourds on further quests.