In the fourth century of the Christian era, the Emperor Constantine ordered the Bishop of Jerusalem to make fifty copies of the Holy Scriptures in Latin. His mother, Saint Helen, had gone to Jerusalem where she reportedly found true cross of Christ and brought with her an earth shaking secret to her son. The Emperor passed that secret on to the Bishop of Jerusalem and swore him and all of his successors to secrecy forever on pain of death and the loss of his soul. Over the 1600 years in the ensuing centuries it was believed that all copies of this Bible were lost. The episcopal custodians of the Bible in Jerusalem have kept in their possession the Bible received from the hands of the Emperor Constantine. They have diligently observed their vow of secrecy. Its revelation could destroy modern Christianity - until now.
Bridget and Scott Donavan, dismissed in disgrace from their academic positions because perpetrating a hoax in their discovery of the true Crown of Thorns, learned that one of the Bibles is still in existence. If they can recover this valuable artifact and prove to the world its authenticity they will have a chance to redeem themselves. Their search takes them from the deepest recesses of the Amazon jungle to a penthouse in New York City where they meet a new member of their team imposed upon them by their benefactor. The word of the Bibles existence will certainly leak. Scurrying to Jerusalem to find it before anyone else can, they are intercepted by old enemies and new ones that were supposed to be friends.
On learning of the Bibles existence the Vatican exhibited extreme interest in acquiring this Bible. One of its primary investigators, Father Jonathan McGregor, is dispatched to secure this sacred manuscript. The chase that ensues involves the FBI, urban terrorists, the Vatican, and other forces determined to hide the monumental secret in this Bible from the rest of the world. Bridget Donavan's archenemy is determined she will die before acquiring the Bible. The Emperor Constantine ordered 50 Bibles to be written in Latin. He gave the Bishop of Jerusalem the first copy containing a secret. That secret had remained hidden for 1600 years - until now.
©2013 Tom Haase (P)2014 Tom Haase
This was another enjoyable read in the Donavan Chronicles. I think it would be a good pick for fans of Dan Brown. I liked the blending of history, religion, mystery, and action. It was a little hard for me to stay focused during parts of it and certain phrases irked me (ex. "In for a penny, in for a dollar" - Isn't the expression "In for a penny, in for a pound?"). Also, I sometimes got weirded out by the relationship between the Donavan siblings and how they saw each other. I listened to the Audible audio version narrated by John M. Perry. He sounds a little robotic - maybe it's that his pronunciations are just a little too "crisp." I liked that he didn't use the high-pitched and whiny voice for his female characters, which seems to be so common for many male narrators doing female characters. Overall, an enjoyable book and I look forward to seeing what happens in the next book of the series.
I'm not usually all that picky about narrators, having started out with LibraVox, but wow was this bad! Like a computer voice, only worse! The story is a fun idea, but most of the dialogue was so poorly written that when combined with the narration, I'd literally have to stop until I was in a more forgiving mood to go on! Might be better as an eBook, but I'm being generous.
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