A Palestinian suicide bomber fails at his mission and meets a Jewish surgeon with whom he shares a mysterious connection.
Gold (The Bell of the Desert, 2014, etc.) and Jones team up to deliver this first book in the Heritage Trilogy. The main part of the story takes place in Israel in 2007, when a young Palestinian man, Bilal, attempts to blow himself up in an effort to destroy the Western Wall, a Jewish holy site. His failure lands Bilal in the hospital under the care of a Jewish doctor, Yael Cohen, who makes two significant discoveries. First, she finds that Bilal is clutching a mysterious ancient amulet that dates back to biblical Israel, and then she realizes that she and the failed suicide bomber share a genealogical connection. Alongside the developing mysteries in contemporary Israel, the novel intermittently returns to a series of historical vignettes that take place during the time of King Solomon, the return from Babylonian exile in the sixth century B.C., the reign of King Herod the Great in the first century B.C., the Jewish revolt against the Romans in A.D. 70, and the time before the bar Kokhba Revolt in the early A.D. second century. The connection among all these storylines is dubious; however, the drama in the present day is heightened by the involvement of an ultraconservative Messianic Jewish group, Neturei Karta, which maintains hidden political connections while working toward their goal of the destruction of Israel. Into this tension steps Yaniv Grossman, a handsome American journalist whose investigation of the Orthodox Jewish right wing takes him deep into political intrigue and deeper into the heart of Dr. Cohen.
A significant amount of the story will need to be wrapped up in the rest of the trilogy, but this novel is well-researched and enjoyable to read.