In this debut thriller, the discovery of a Roman centurion’s contemporaneous account of Jesus Christ’s miracles lends support to biblical teachings.
Archaeologist Katherine Jacobson is thrilled when her dig partner Miles tells her of his astounding find: a chest of Roman scrolls that date back to the time of Christ. She rushes to Jerusalem to help him with the excavation and plunges immediately into the work, never suspecting the impact that the artifact will have on her future. Meanwhile, as Katherine translates the scrolls, she finds herself questioning her long-term relationship with prominent photographer Simon de Prie, and when personal tragedy strikes, Katherine reconnects with her father, a man she had thought she could never forgive. Later, she has a chance encounter on a plane with a U.S. government agent, and soon she and her companions find themselves the targets of a shadowy, violent organization dedicated to eradicating proof of Jesus’ historical existence. The narrative switches seamlessly back and forth between current events and the scrolls’ stories. The pacing is swift and sure, and there are plenty of plot twists. Unfortunately, the prose itself is burdened by occasional inconsistency (“Miles…does not realize how spectacular a ‘discovery’ this is. He knows deep inside of his gut that this could be the ‘find of the century’ ”) and impenetrability (“Walking on gravel seems like peanut butter and jelly to Katherine and Simon”). Other elements, including the excessive use of adjectives and adverbs (“Katherine slides easily into a cozy corner to have a great conversation with Isabelle”), further detract from reading pleasure. Although there are occasional moments of transcendent prose (“It is not the smell of death but the smell of life without hope”), they are too few to save the overall story.
A well-plotted but heavy-handed novel, hampered by inelegant prose.