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3.0 out of 5 starsDan Brown Meets Raders of The Lost Ark
Reviewed in the United States on January 20, 2016
The disgraced promising archeological genius N.Y. turned lawyer teams up with respected archeological expert/former love interest in a shoot-me-up/slasher chase to find the lost Temple Menorah before the evil grandson of The (very disgraced) Grand Mufti of Jerusalem does...and destroys it. Daniel Levin offers us the true definition of historical FICTION as apposed to a historical NOVEL in that, while there is enough factual history to chew on, there is far more historical misinformation. The fantastical versus accurate historical information is so intermixed as given fact that the uninitiated may well walk away with a fun chase-em adventure...and a more confused sense of historical knowledge than before picking up The Last Ember.
5.0 out of 5 starsA Tantalizing Archaeological Action Thriller
Reviewed in the United States on July 28, 2010
I am not an avid reader of crime suspense fiction or techno-thrillers, and I felt that the Da Vinci Code industry is "history lite". This is not to say that I don't like who-dunnits with an historical angle. It's just that so many of them turn out to be cut-and-paste fringe conspiracy theories. My interest in this well-researched and enthusiastically crafted "factional" tour-de-force did not flag or falter. Unlike some reviewers on these pages, I don't feel that the plot devices are simply a hook on which to hang the research. My interest was piqued since my own non-fiction work, THE JEWISH REVOLTS AGAINST ROME, AD 66-135 dovetails neatly with the author's obsession with Josephus, his world and continuing efforts to establish his true character and motives after two millennia. In fact one of the appendices of my book contains a sketch for an alternate history of the Jewish rebellions, which is as close as I will probably come to writing a fictional account based on Josephus. Just as well: The Last Ember has trumped anything I might do in that area. I also had felt that there was quite a bit more behind Josephus' "defection" to Vespasian's legions than the few slippery passages of his works reveal. I was quite pleased to read this and ponder the possibillties so excitingly fleshed out in the novel. Nor did I find the characters to be "cardboard" or cliched, as one reviewer thought. They have a passion for literally unearthing the truth and exposing those who would "erase" one people's history to serve the nefarious ends of the Deniers.
Reviewed in the United States on February 21, 2013
Fast paced plot of the "can't put down" type. Daniel Levin did his homework in writing this novel, that could be true. The characters are empathetic, have personal flaws that make them realistic. If you enjoy ancient history about the Roman Empire and the Jew's stand against Imperial Rome, this is your book. Though set in modern day Rome and Israel, it weaves the history of the time period with accuracy.
If you liked Angels and Demons, you will enjoy this book.
5.0 out of 5 starsLighten Up Critics, It's a NOVEL, Not a History Textbook!
Reviewed in the United States on April 7, 2011
Whoa, 1 and 2-star critics! For Heaven's sake, this is a NOVEL and never purports to be anything besides a little diversionary entertainment. It is certainly NOT a history textbook to be taken literally. I found it to be an absolutely excellent page-turning mental 'get away' in the tradition of Doug Preston and Linc Child. You just read it and off you go to Rome, The Colosseum, Ostia, Jerusalem, etc. Brown? B-O-R-I-N-G!!
To all you 'wannabe' amateur literary critics out there, lighten up on the new guy and give him a chance! I bet if you picked your wife's cooking or your husband's choice of dress apart like some of these vitriolic reviews, you'd sleep in the doghouse for a month!
Let's hope he isn't like Caleb Carr who's first novel, "The Alienist" was outstanding, but subsequent attempts not nearly as good. Hopefully Dan Levin will improve and write even better historical action stuff.
At least I hope so. Dan, I'll read your future books also if you promise to write more historical action stuff; I loved it!
Reviewed in the United States on September 30, 2016
The book is fast moving and full of interesting archeological information in the context of ancient Judie Christian history. A little hard to follow the detailed movement through underground tunnels and passages but this added to the authenticity of the narrative.
Reviewed in the United States on September 17, 2009
This book is a thriller that revolves around the contemporary search for the treasures of the Temple that were taken during the Roman conquest of Jerusalem. What makes the book so fabulous is that, although it is fiction, its premise is exceptionally plausible, and it is replete with hundreds of facts and factoids (many of which I was unaware) that make it an absolutely engrossing read. It also posits a new (to me) theory about the role and character of Flavius Josephus (which may sound absurdly esoteric but is, instead, if true, an entirely new way to look at ancient and modern history). If you enjoyed The DaVinci Code it is my belief that you will go berserk for The Last Ember, because in addition to being a great story, it has the advantage (unlike The DaVinci Code) of being based on verifiable facts, and is entirely possible. Trust me on this. I wholeheartedly encourage you to read The Last Ember. By the way, there is nothing in the book that should offend anyone (except the radical Islamists who are, right now, despoiling the Temple Mount by digging in the area of what is now called Solomon's Stables, in an attempt to destroy the evidence there of the Temple's existence).
Reviewed in the United States on December 15, 2009
I truely enjoyed this novel. I hope that Daniel Levin is working on something new because if it is as good as The Last Ember, I can't wait to read it. He uses factual information with fiction that not only flows toward a satisfying climax, but keeps you involved mentally with each page. I am so glad I decided to buy this book. It would make a great gift as well.
I concur with the first reviewer that there are some grammatical erros that should ahve been caught but the accuracy of the research and latin/greek is finite. A really good thriller for the intelligent reader as you follow lawyer Jonathon Marcus (Aurelius!)and his rather unwilling cohort Dr Emili Travia dig into the past. From Rome to Jerusalem - Judeism, Islam and Chritianity's histories feature. This debut novel shines!
The Last Ember