I liked the historical aspects of this book the most. I was a little worried when the description mentioned Nazis, because they are overused when it comes to stories with secret artifacts, but I thought Wallentin used them cleverly in her story. I liked the multiple voices as the story goes back and forth through time. The story of the ankh and star is revealed at a nice pace and that is what kept me reading this book. The history of the ankh and star, from their discovery to present day, I found very inventive. That being said -
The most disappointing part of this book is the actual secret - what the ankh and star actually lead to. I can't really go into detail without major spoilers, but I couldn't really understand the connection on how the foundation ends up using this secret and and what the secret actually is. At first I thought it was the secret that wasn't grandiose enough for me, but I realized it was actually the reaction of the people who discover it and how they use it. Some of the what they discover from this secret is used for awful things, especially during World War II by the Germans, but I think I just expected a secret society to use such a secret to a grander scale.
The characters were a mix for me. We get quite a few character viewpoints, though Don Titelman is main character. I could never really connect with him. I never really understood why he was so messed up. His Jewish grandmother told him stories when he was eight of the Nazi's cruel experiments on her. He also discovered her secret stash of Nazi memorabilia that completely freaks him out. The stories she told him were awful, but I couldn't understand Don's over sensitivity to them. He ends up becoming addicted to prescription drugs and becomes a professor who is an expert in Nazi symbolism. And he has photographic memory, a fact that is thrown out there in the middle of the book. His character was just too irrational for me. The character I liked the most was Eva. She's smart and calm, though I was suspicious of her throughout the whole book.
I'm giving this one three stars, because I liked the historical aspects of this book a lot and the story behind the ankh and star.
ARC provided through NetGalley.