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3.0 out of 5 starsIntense, and depressing
Reviewed in the United States on March 15, 2021
ARCANE is like having an organization comprised of James Bond, Indiana Jones, Robert Langdon and Lara Croft who travel the globe gathering and saving powerful religious objects from the evil plans of religious fanatics and power mongers then turning them over to a religious artifact collecting organization (ARCANE) who, of course, have only the best intentions of collecting and keeping humanity safe from these powerful and potentially deadly items. Forgive the tongue-in-cheek description because from all the notes following each book Ms.Penn Is a serious religious researcher and historian and I do respect that. She is also an extremely talented writer. But these books are intense and bloody and filled with so many evil people it's overwhelming and depressing. We all know great evil has been committed in the name of God throughout history and is still today. But for all the history and effort put into these books, I just come away from them feeling depressed.
Whether it is a search for the Pentecost Stones, the Devil's Bible or the biblical Ark of the Covenant, these thrillers will rock your world. They are esoteric, fast paced and suspenseful and will take you all over the world to the strangest of places and most interesting cultures. I was especially impressed how true to life these incidental characters are described as to dress, food or drink, history, religion and culture. Foreign phrases are all correctly used and fit in with the local dialects. Descriptions of places are astoundingly correct and suited to the plot so much so it becomes difficult to believe most of these thrillers are not a simply rehash of the real past. The research involved is simply extraordinary. This trilogy, each an independent, full thriller, is fascinating and nail-biting good. Even the very arkane parts, often bordering on the supernatural, is blended in naturally and with confidence. Author JF Penn is a rare find and this Arkane Thriller Boxset 1-3 value on so many levels. Enjoy.
5.0 out of 5 starsI found that J F Penn writes a really great story and includes historical information that I had not ...
Reviewed in the United States on October 28, 2014
I began reading this box set and was immediately drawn into the action. I found that J F Penn writes a really great story and includes historical information that I had not been aware existed. (I am still working my way through all her references at the end each book.)
Pentecost introduces us to the main characters, Dr. Morgan Sierra, whose background is like the author's - religion and psychology, Jake Timber, who turns out to be an agent of ARKANE, an organization that seeks items with special powers to protect them from evil, and Ben, a priest who harbors secrets of his own. As they rush to find all 12 of the Apostles' Stones, we are whisked around various countries and treated to wonders. THANATOS, an evil organization, enters into the fray and really steps up the heat.
Prophecy continues with the struggle between ARKANE and THANATOS, and the excitement builds even more as Morgan and Jake rush to stop a holocaust that will kill one in four people. Their struggle against Milan Noble, the head of THANATOS, is embellished in this book.
Exodus could be the end of the world, but will it? Again, Dr. Morgan Sierra is thrust into danger and battles the forces of evil. By now I have read straight through and am wanting more. Get this three-volume set and then get books 4 and 5. You will have no regrets and maybe, just maybe, will sleep easier.
2.0 out of 5 starsBeware: Hideous sacrifice descriptions
Reviewed in the United States on May 18, 2018
The writing isn't bad, though it gets to be pretty repetitive by the third book. The author seems to throw romantic intetest at the reader in the third book by putting the main character's first romantic interest in a coma in the second book. But all of this is to be expected in these series books. What caused me to not only put the third book down half way through, but also to delete it from my library was the scence in which the idol worshipper got her mojo back. I can't stomach such hideous images, and I hope I can get what little bit I did read out of my head soon.
It was a decent read but I found reading the three one after the other a bit too much...should have read something in between each one. Having said that I did enjoy the Trilogy. The main character becomes too good to be true and can achieve no end of pain and suffering despite wounds which would hospitalise me! The idea behind Arkane is plausible - the time scales set by the storylines seem a little far fetched but it is still a fair read...and I may seek out the next book!
These thrillers are page turners. As a writer, I am impressed with the blending of real life events with fiction. I have a similar interest and these stories flow nicely. There is also a wonderful international flavor. I am looking forward to the next three.
5.0 out of 5 starsStone of fire, crypt of bone,ark of blood
Reviewed in the United States on April 26, 2015
Absolutely thrilling mystery...Suspense, Intrigue ..Penn is a master in the art of writing! Once I started I couldn't stop reading! She has the ability to make you feel you are standing along side the primary character! Fantastic book!! I enjoyed these books immensely!!!! She is a master storyteller!!
This is an excellent series. I enjoy the blend of a thriller mixed in with history. I have some strong beliefs and values and I believe there are things that happen in this world that can’t be explained by science. Sometimes you just need some faith.
This box set comprises the first three books in the author's series about a secret organisation which investigates religious and paranormal events around the world and also collects and stores items of cultural or religious significance which if they fell in to the wrong hands could lead to conflicts or could be used as items of power in spells or invocations.
The lead character is Dr Morgan Sierra an academic who had previously served in the Israeli Defence Force, so is very capable of looking after herself. Her nemesis is a very ruthless mercenary called Natasha El-Behery. It is quite refreshing to have women as the main protagonists.
As with all thrillers there are some elements that require a suspension of belief but generally the storylines are within the bounds of (almost) believability.
The three books do lead on from each other, and refer back, so the best way to read them is in order.
There is some quite explicit gory violence in the books and also a lot of destruction of religious and cultural artefacts, in fact if the destruction of museums and churches and their contents continues at the same rate as in these three books, there won't be any left by about episode 15 of the series!
The stories deal with, in order, the search for a set of stones, supposedly taken by each apostle from Christ's tomb; an ancient curse that a quarter of the world must die and the devil's bible; and finally the search for the Ark of the Covenant.
The author's knowledge and research are obvious, and I learned a lot that I hadn't known before. I can thoroughly recommend this box set as an introduction to this really exciting and fast-paced thriller series.
I did receive this item as a review copy from the author, but had previously bought books 1 & 3..
I just couldn't put these books down. They are brilliantly researched,intelligently written and entertaining They also lead you to discover more real knowledge for yourself. I found myself referring to Wikipedia often during my reading, which enhanced the realism of the whole series. I'm off now to start the second box set. I have read all her London crime novels and recommend those too..
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 25, 2015
I like the combination of religious references and action. The former are very interesting, but occasionally feel forced into the plot. The characters are also a little simplistic in places (each with their own dark secret). That being said, it was very enjoyable and the box set meant it was easy to just read through. I'll be getting hold of the rest of the series.