Philipp Metzger’s The Sign of the Sibyl begins with vivid characters. A dashing young aristocrat open to any madness while pursuing ancient secrets, a steady-minded scholar, and a common-man preacher all set to sail to Barbados. This colorful, colonial cast is transported to a strange sea complete with a sea monster and a maiden as sacrificial offering. The premise starts fast but soon slows in some areas. Scenes of revised Roman history abound with suspense, but some readers may struggle to follow explanations for these ancient plot twists. Still, readers may love how this alternate-universe tale integrates biblical elements as “lost lore” in an alien world.
Best for: Fans of historical action/adventure or Greco-Roman history with a dose of portal fantasy.
Discern: Frequent mild vulgarities and profanities; some characters are crude.