Author: J.B. Keats

Publisher: Nonester Press

ISBN: 978-0-9904489-0-7

Ellen Shea is a young scholar who finds herself on a perilous journey from New York City to Europe and North Africa.  Along the way, intrigue, romance, and soul-searching questions surface as she takes the reader on a fascinating journey challenging long-held views of history and religion. 

The book’s focus on “Q” (‘Quelle’ meaning ‘Source’ as in ‘original source of Christian scripture’) and Ellen’s search for scrolls (disappeared and surfaced in mysterious and unusual ways over the centuries) are woven into a plot shedding light on possibilities which New Testament scholars have long believed: oral tradition is not reliable and literal interpretation of the Bible bears questioning, raising the question "Could the first written Christian Scriptures have been altered or even intentionally corrupted?".

Steeped in Roman Catholicism while growing up, Joel Benner (J.B.) Keats also had extensive exposure to a variety of religions.  His innate ability to write, coupled with his keen mind and fascination with religion and history,encouraged him to research and question religious tenets, culminating in a convincing story that will have readers wondering an even more basic question: “What is truth?”.

Through a compelling and entertaining narrative that stretches from ancient times to today, Ellen meets fascinating characters who challenge the reader to question and doubt centuries-old religious truths.

J.B. Keats is a master storyteller whose ability to weave history and religion together is fascinating.  While it is a ‘good’ read, the title Keats chose neither intrigues nor invites and, as the protagonist is female, the title is a frustrating non sequitur. The book’s sub-title: The Hierophant (a Hierophans is a holy man who guides believers into the presence of God by interpreting sacred wisdom) as the book’s title would have added to the mystery, intrigue and fascination and could have made the book a ‘great‘ book.

Even so, this is a well-researched and entertainingly written book. The author provides an excellent appendix which authenticates both the primary story of Ellen’s journey (to locate the scrolls), and the journey of the scrolls (from ancient Anatolia through the Council at Nicaea, on to the medieval kingdoms of the Visigoths, Moors and Spaniards). 

Ending the story in the future (in 2018) and unexpectedly (don’t even try to guess!) is a clever ploy that makes the reader want to reread the book to discover clues-along-the-way leading to the conclusion that were missed.  Well done, J.B.Keats.