Saturday, October 27, 2007

The 13th Apostle

Richard and Rachael Hiller (2007), The 13th Apostle, New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

Among the most sacred of texts it is written:

In each generation there are born thirty-six
righteous souls who by their very existence,
assure the continuation of the world.

According to Abraham’s Covenant, once each
millennium, God shall return to earth and count
among the many, those who remain righteous.

Were it not for these tzaddikim, the righteous ones,
who stand in God’s judgment, mankind’s fate would
be grave and certain peril.

These traddikim have no knowledge of each other,
Neither have they an understanding of their own
singular importance. As innocents, they remain
unaware of the critical consequences of their
thoughts, their faith, and their deeds,
Save for one.

To this tzaddik alone is granted knowledge
of his position, for to him is trusted the
most sacred of tasks.

From Publishers Weekly
The Hellers, a husband-and-wife team known for their health titles (The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet, etc.) make a thrilling fiction debut in this fast-paced, well-researched adventure, a foray into Da Vinci Code–style papal mystery. American cybersleuth Gil Pearson, a semifamous antihacker, gets tapped to help translate an ancient copper scroll that's meant to lead to a fabulous treasure. Accompanied by striking, strong Sabbie Karaim, a translator and former Israeli military operative, Gil travels to Israel, where he's introduced to the dangerous conspiracy that surrounds the scroll, and soon realizes the perilous position he's gotten himself into; apparently, the scroll contains not just a treasure map but the truth about the life and death of Jesus. As rival factions try to claim the scroll for their own agendas (to protect Christianity, to destroy Christianity, etc.), Gil and Sabbie head on a breakneck quest around the globe trying stay one step ahead of their pursuers while teasing out the secrets of the age-old document. A satisfying, well-structured entry into the still-hot subgenre, the Hellers have a definite crowd-pleaser on their hands—assuming it doesn't get buried in a saturated market. (Aug.)
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I have always enjoyed reading conspiracy thrillers especially those involving religious antiquity. That is why I enjoyed the Da Vinci Code enormously and also the Indiana Jones movies and novels (yes, there are novels). This book promises two premises; one, the legend/tradition of the worthy tzaddikim, and two, the story of the thirteenth apostle.

Unfortunately the authors were not able to bring these two interesting ideas into play effectively to hammer out a good religious conspiracy thriller. The story telling was choppy with too much detail given to the scroll. It also suffers by imitating the writing style of the Da Vinci Code. The character development was poorly done. For example Gil, the leading male character is at times very intelligent and at other times to be incredibly stupid. It was a fair attempt for a first novel. My rating for this book is one star.




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