Tomb Raider
The Cradle of Life - Movie Novelisation

Author: Dave Stern
Pocket Books
RRP 6.99, US $6.99, Cdn $10.50

ISBN 0 7434 7709 X
Available now

Within the long-lost Temple of Luna, built by Alexander the Great to store his most valuable possessions, Lara Croft discovers a device that leads the way to the deadliest artefact of all time: The legendary Pandora's Box. Hidden for centuries in a place known to the pharaohs as "the cradle of life", the box that once brought life to Earth now contains only a lethal plague. Unfortunately for Lara, a ruthless bioterrorist has uncovered the existence of the weapon as well...

The Cradle of Life starts off extremely promising. The opening chapters, which see Lara's old friends unceremoniously dispatched by a ruthless killer are incredibly captivating, although I doubt that the graphic way they are murdered will make it onto the big screen if the movie is to get a UK certificate below 18.

Sadly, after an interesting opening the book slips into a coma and never really recovers until the conclusion - which is nothing that impressive anyway. The sad thing is it's not Dave Stern's fault. His writing makes the best of a poor plot, and the love interest side of the book is awfully contrived - with terrible dialogue. Stern no doubt was given the movie dialogue and storyboards to work from and to his credit has tried to entertain with the below par source material. But, as my dear grandmother used to say, You can't polish a turd.

Another annoying thing is that, like the movie, the title is confusing: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. Now is it just me? Or is this an unnecessary complicated title? Is it a Lara Croft movie? Or a Tomb Raider movie? Or is it a Lara Croft: Tomb Raider film? When stocked in your local booksellers will you have to search under the "L" or "T" aisle? Or will it be stocked under "C" for "Cradle of Life"?

If you thought the latest Playstation 2 Tomb Raider game was disappointing then you might be in for a bigger let down with the movie. Sadly, the book seems to indicate that the movie won't be one you should be rushing out to see.

Amber Leigh

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