The Himalayan Codex: An R. J. MacCready Novel by Bill Schutt and J.R. Finch

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

The himlayan CodexDo you believe in Big Foot? Even if you don’t, do you wish he existed? The search for the Yeti is the focus of The Himalayan Codex and might just be the Summer book for you.

R.J. MacCready is a zoologist and an adventurer who specializes in studying the oddities of nature, so it was a natural fit for him to be sent to Tibet to investigate the discovery of some Mammoth bones. But that wasn’t the true reason for his trip. There was an ancient document that led some to believe that there was a race of humans who were in reality the Yeti of lore.

MacCready’s job was to search for these people or at least evidence that they had in fact existed. This race supposedly held the secret to highly sought after information on human evolution. What he found was alarming.

This is a thriller of the best sort. The action is pretty much nonstop from the first page until the end of the book. The subject matter is a bit of a stretch at times, but for readers who enjoyed Jurassic Park, the Dirk Pitt series by Clive Cussler or James Rollins series with the veterinarian, this book should be a perfect fit.

The thing I liked most was the entire idea of finding Big Foot or at least people who were the basis for the legend. I absolutely loved the parts when time shifted from 1946 back to Ancient Rome with Pliny the Elder, the naturalist who first wrote about the race of people leading to the legend of Big Foot. Knowing and being familiar with Pliny the Elder made these parts all the more enjoyable. Another high point of the book for me was the rich descriptions of the places MacCready and company traveled. The author painted a very lush and believable picture for the reader making parts of the book a mini travelogue.

On the other hand, this book desperately needed a list of characters. This book seems to literally have a cast of thousands with many characters playing a fairly major role. While MacCready is the protagonist, there are times it’s hard to remember that while readers visit with Pliny and all that is going on in Ancient Rome with Yanni’s and her various side trips and with the scene shifting back and forth across the world with each site having it’s own group of characters. What was very informative was the author’s notes at the end where he details who and what in the book is real and who and what is pure fiction. I would recommend reading that part first as I think it would help keep some of the characters straight.

It is important for readers to know that The Himalayan Codex is actually the second in the R.J. MacCready series. I didn’t realize this and read The Himalayan Codex before Hell’s Gate, the first book. While I had no problem at all with picking up who the characters were and their relationship and backstory, after reading Hell’s Gate I wished I would have been introduced to the people in the first book before jumping into their lives in the second book. However, if you haven’t read Hell’s Gate and reading things in order is not your obsession, readers will be fine jumping in with The Himalayan Codex first.