Reviewer June Maffin:Living on an island in British Columbia, Canada, Dr. Maffin is a neophyte organic gardener, eclectic reader, ordained minister (Anglican/Episcopal priest) and creative spirituality writer/photographer with a deep zest for life. Previously, she has been grief counselor, broadcaster, teacher, journalist, television host, chaplain and spiritual director with an earned doctorate in Pastoral Care (medical ethics i.e. euthanasia focus). Presently an educator, freelance editor, blogger, and published author of three books, her most recent (Soulistry-Artistry of the Soul: Creative Ways to Nurture your Spirituality) has been published in e-book as well as paperback format and a preview can be viewed on YouTube videos. Founder of Soulistry™ she continues to lead a variety of workshops and retreats connecting spirituality with creativity and delights in a spirituality of play. You can find out more about June by clicking on her Web Site.
Readers of The
Messiah Secret will find themselves in a world of exciting mystery,
intrigue and even hints of romance between recurring characters
British police officer Chris Bronson and British Museum conservator
Angela Lewis in James Becker’s third religious thriller novel.
In a formula similar to Dan Brown’s novels (recurring characters, Christianity mystery plot, scientific and historical factoids), this book introduces two new characters: the evil, cruel and deadly Father Michael Daniel Killian who believes his actions are justified by virtue of his perceived sense of call from God; and research geneticist JJ Donovan who is willing to go to any means to accomplish his goal which remains a mystery until the end of the book.
The intrigue begins in the Prologue in the year AD 72 on the Silk Road, as nine men transport a heavy wooden crate. What is inside this crate? Why must all die, except for one man? A story of foreign travel, archeological discovery, genetic curiosity, hieroglyphic scripts, forgery and gremoire (an ancient magician sourcebook of spells and incantations) fill the pages of this book. Historical references and hypotheses and fascinating insights into the world of pre-Christendom result in the answer to these two questions.
While author Becker entertains and informs, this reviewer found the first fourteen chapters moved too slowly and some chapter endings seemed to serve little purpose other than to increase the word count. The book would have been tighter had there been some serious editing i.e. if the last sentence in chapters three, seven and eleven had been omitted, and if some names had been changed: Father Kill(ian) was too obvious; NoJoGen (for the Not Just Genetics company) was distracting.
But, in chapter fifteen, the novel’s pace picked up. Things changed, dramatically! From that point on, this reviewer was “hooked” as the whirlwind adventure (that begins in the UK, moves to Egypt and then India) evolves as mercenaries follow close behind Chris and Angela while they try to decipher the meaning behind a mysterious poem:
“And then the son of Yus of the purified
Instructed that the light which had become
The treasure was to be taken from Mohalla
And returned from whence it came.
And Isaac journeyed long and far
With his trusted followers into the
Valley of flowers and there fashioned
With their own hands a place of stone
Where they together concealed and made
Hidden the treasure of the world for all
Eternity until the heavens shall be rent asunder
And all shall tremble in the face of judgment.
With their shadows ever before them
From the rising to the setting
Beyond the meeting point where waters
Tumble toward the mighty river that flows never
Then turned to face the glory
Between the pillars and beyond their shadows
Into the silence and the darkness formed of man
To rest forever.”
good triumph over evil? Are the questions from the
Prologue ever answered? Do Chris and Angela learn the meaning
of the poem? What is JJ Donovan’s goal? And what of
The ending intricately weaves the bits and pieces of the story, revealing an ending that surprises and encourages the reader to seek out author Becker’s next book which hopefully won’t be too long a wait!