A well-paced thriller that attempts to universalize the world’s major religions.
The potentially nefarious organization known as ISIS is searching the world for the finest minds in religion, and Caleb Drake, the charismatic genius spearheading the group, has chosen the unwitting Father Daniel Sheppard, among others. Sheppard, an upstart and all-around hip priest, has been told by his deacon that ISIS is an atheistic conspiracy meant to raze the Catholic Church to ruin. It’s a bit far-fetched for Sheppard until he finds his computer being remotely monitored by advanced spyware and receives a desperate e-mail from an old colleague–along with a cryptic data attachment from a recently dismantled and controversial project called PLATO. This scientific effort has discovered the positive efficacy of prayer on physical phenomenon. The author’s clearly opinionated, but regardless of readers’ spiritual bent, this fun thriller will sustain their interest with a diverse cast of religious characters, chase scenes and the odd explosion. The revelatory findings of project PLATO and the shadowy organization of ISIS–with all the attending religious implications–are thoughtfully developed. Unfortunately, the novel’s conclusion attempts to deliver authentic religious revelations instead of a gratifying denouement. Rather than summarizing the narrative through a compelling mystical sentiment, the character Dharma explicitly outlines the revelation in the final pages. It’s as though the preceding chapters were a mere excuse to legitimize this final confused proselytizing–the kind of nebulous theosophy which the book earlier treats with pleasing irony. Halt is inventive though, and his thoughtful efforts make his novel entertaining, if not revelatory.
Perfect for lovers of blockbuster thrillers and religious conspiracies.