An intricate tale, this book alternates in almost kafkaesque style between a 12th century Arthurian tale and the modern search by the heroine Ellie and her boyfriend Doug for the elusive Holy Grail.

Headhunted from doctoral studies at Oxford, Ellie goes to work for the ancient, mysterious,  London-based Monsalvat Bank.   Everything is provided for her; top class accommodation, a massive salary, the ultimate in mobile phones and laptops –  everything a girl could wish for –  but before long Ellie is drawn into intrigue, scandal and the immoral world of her boss Blanchard.  She finds her whole life is scrutinised and controlled by the bank, Blanchard and his security sidekick.  Finally Ellie finds the elusive sixth floor vault and discovers a link with the contents of the vault and her own family history.   The consequent chase through much of Europe is as much a part of the fantasy of this tale as the interwoven mediaeval tale, the speed of both become breath taking and nail biting towards the end.

I did not enjoy the alternating stories, finding them quite disorientating (possibly because of my inherent dislike of Arthurian legends) and mostly had to quell my desire to skip those sections and read on to find out what happened to Ellie  and various other nefarious characters.   But, I did like the tender touch that brought the story of Ellie and Doug to a satisfactory conclusion.

Tom Harper has other books which will be added to my To Be Read list in the future

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