Countdown Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Countdown

The story is about the search today for a casket of gold hidden by a lady called Cira during the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius at Pompeii for the purpose of funding a terrorist attack Jane MacGuire is the splitting image of Cira, a theatre actress who lived near Pompeii at Herculaneum. She is an artist and an archaeologist who is plagued by dreams in which she is Cira and is trying to escape while the town is getting destroyed by volcanic lava. Trevor is a man who Jane had met while she had gone excavating at Herculeum four years ago. He too was on the search for the casket of gold that Cira was supposed to have hidden. Although they had been very attracted to each other there had been no contact between them for the past four years, although Trevor had kept tabs on Jane.
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Now Jane is pursued by unknown assailants and her close friend Mike is killed by a bullet meant for her. She is rescued by Trevor and taken from her school Harvard to a castle in Aberdeen, Scotland. There she sees the bust of Cira that Trevor had got from the ruins of Herculeum and notices her own resemblance to the face. Marco an Italian is also a resident at the castle and is employed by Trevor to decipher and translate some scrolls that Trevor had found at Herculeum, said to be written by Cira and hold clues to the location of the casket of gold.

Macduff, the laird who had leased his castle to Trevor also lived on the grounds with Jock a young man who was one of the Laird's subjects. Jock was an assassin who had been brainwashed and trained by Reilly a billionaire, intent on destroying the world. Reilly wanted Cira's casket of gold to fund a few nuclear explosions. Reilly had drugged and hypnotized Jock and enslaved him to the such an extent that Jock had become a cold blooded killer. But he had managed to escape and had been rescued by Macduff. Jock was now totally committed to protecting Macduff but he had suppressed all memory of Reilly's location.

Grozak and Whitman were two assassins who Reilly had made a deal with to capture Jane. Reilly believed Jane was a reincarnation of Cira and knew where the casket of gold was hidden. Grozak was instrumental in killing Jane's friend Mike and Whitman brutally beheaded Mario's father in Switzerland. They were all closing in on Jane. Trevor, Macduff, Mario and Jane realized that it was actually Reilly who was pulling the strings and the only way to stop disaster was to locate and eliminate Reilly. But only Jock knew where to locate Reilly and he was a very dangerous, mentally disturbed man. He had to be handled with extreme care. Each of the others very subtly began to tap into Jock's psyche, into his humanitarian side so as to jog his memory. Jock was now determined that he was going to kill Reilly.

Jock remembered that Reilly's hideout was somewhere in the mountains of Idaho and they all left the castle to try and find Reilly. Jock insisted on taking only Jane with him and asked her to wait in a snow shack while he went alone to kill Reilly. The land around Reilly's hideout was strewn with landmines and video cameras and Jock knew their location like the back of his hand. There was a severe snowstorm happening while Jock set out. In the haze of the snow he saw Whitman trying to get to Jane and promptly shot him. In the mean time Mario who was a traitor and had made a deal with Grozak arrived at the shack to capture Jane and hand her over to Grozak and Reilly. Jane killed Grozak while Trevor managed to eliminate Mario. Jock got a shot at Reilly just as he was trying to escape and blew up his head.

They all returned to the castle. From Mario's transcription of the scrolls they found out that Cira had managed to escape Herculeum on a ship.
Best part of story, including ending: I liked the story for its twists and suspense.

Best scene in story: My favorite scene was when Jane went to Switzerland and spoke to the cafe owner so that she could draw a sketch of Mario's father's assassin. This sketch helped give a twist to the tale

Opinion about the main character: I like Jane MacGuire's strength of character

The review of this Book prepared by bibi sarkar a Level 1 Blue Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of Countdown

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 30%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) Time/era of story:    -   ancient rome Spying/Terrorism Thriller    -   Yes Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes Crime plotlets:    -   search for gems/treasure/money General Crime (including known murderer)    -   Yes Search for technology?    -   information about history

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   archeologist Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   Italy Misc setting    -   fancy mansion

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Countdown

Iris Johansen Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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