THE THIRD DAY by David  Epperson

THE THIRD DAY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A team of adventurers searches through time for a missing Nobel prizewinner.

Former Army Intelligence operative Bill Culloden is asked by hedge-fund manager Jonah Markowitz to find physicist Henry Bryson, who was working on a trading algorithm to beat the markets. Along with Markowitz’s son, Ray, Culloden heads to Boston to question Bryson’s wife, Juliet, who discloses that she and her husband became millionaires—by sending buy orders for Walmart and Cisco back in time. It seems Bryson is dead—he died around 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem on a time-travel mission gone awry. After obtaining Bryson’s exact coordinates at his death, Culloden, Markowitz, archaeologist Dr. Robert Lavon and lovely Sharon Bergfield head back to the Jerusalem of Jesus’ time, where they encounter some lethally efficient Roman soldiers not completely convinced by their back story. The team crosses paths with Pilate, Herod and Jesus, as they fight to survive in a time of leprosy, torture, gladiator combat and crucifixion—and possibly corroborate the resurrection, if they live long enough. Among the book’s strengths, and there are many, is placing the reader at the scene of the days surrounding one of the most significant events in our history. The author creates scene after scene of people taking care of everyday business—bathing, preparing food, conducting religious ceremonies, caring for the sick. Another plus is a cast of characters motivated by the joy of discovery, rather than money, lust, fame or any of the typical self-serving interests. While the plot incorporates events surrounding Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, the tale never dissolves into a simple retelling of the Gospels. Once the action starts, it never lets up until the final page. Some nifty state-of-the-art gadgets would do James Bond proud, including an ear-bud all-language translator and a bandage that, after healing near-fatal wounds, disappears into the flesh. Although the story unfolds from Culloden’s viewpoint, this is an ensemble play, requiring that each character eventually take center stage. It all comes together beautifully for a satisfying, nick-of-time conclusion.

A fast-paced crackerjack tale, solidly plotted and a pleasure to read.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0983841128
Page count: 396pp
Publisher: David M. Epperson
Program: Kirkus Indie
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