Every once in awhile I run across a book so unique in theme, so well thought out and executed, that it is a real pleasure to be able to tell many people about it via this website rather than just a few acquaintances. This is one of those books.
Wil, a noted archaeologist, holds a prestigious post at the Institute for Palestinian Research in Israel. He’s an expert on Palestinian archaeology and the history, topography, and archaeology of Jerusalem. This is a great post for him. His personal goal is to discover something to discredit the religion of his abusive and hypocritical father, and there is no place more likely to provide material for his quest.
When Wil is selected as an advisor regarding the safety of an American official visiting Jerusalem, he inadvertently discovers something which may do just that and, at the same time, rock the foundations of Christianity worldwide. Unfortunately, certain political factions want the information to be kept under wraps and Wil becomes their opponent when his determination to make his discovery known threatens the agenda of a person seeking re-election. In the meantime, his pursuit of the truth may endanger his hopes to reunite with an old flame.
The author lays the groundwork for the action using the first few chapters of the book, building the cast of characters using their reminiscences and correspondence. It seems a bit choppy at first until the pieces start to fit together. After this, the story settles into a fast-paced, third-person narrative.
Mr. Bowen is definitely a good storyteller. The book flows well and the pace is consistent throughout. The plot twists are believable and well resolved.
Wil’s discovery sparks much argument and analysis by everyone from members of the clergy and politicians to late-night talk show hosts. The implications of his discovery to organized religion on an international basis are profound. To state exactly what it was would be a spoiler, I believe, so I will not mention it here. Hint hint, though: what if Christianity was put out of business? The book reminds me of a kind of an “Area 51” story and makes me wonder whether such a thing had already happened and, if it had, whether we would ever know the truth of it.
Sub-themes of corruption in government are eye-opening, too: they are the kinds of things that we tend to think about, but turn a blind eye to because we don’t want to know if they are really happening. I think I will look at the news differently from this point on.
In order to keep the pace swift and the reader’s focus on the action, characters are developed minimally. The various characters were realistic, if shallow, although the main character was given a bit more depth. This is fairly typical of political thrillers, however, and I cannot fault the book for this.
Unique, in my experience, thought-provoking, and entertaining are three things that well describe this book. It’s undauntingly straightforward as compared to a complex thriller by, for example, Tom Clancy; its clear focus is a benefit in this case, however, as the ideas presented are clear and stick with you. While it is listed as an adventure/thriller, it’s also got elements of a historical novel and a mystery, and should appeal to a wide audience.
If you liked The DaVinci Code, you’ll enjoy this!
This book is also available at Amazon.co.uk
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