Heiberger’s (The Feud, 2014, etc.) fourth novel weaves together theological themes and archaeological intrigue into a rollicking action-adventure story as a seafaring academic seeks out a holy book before its profanation destroys the world.
An expedition financed by Robrecht Weissman, a famous biblical historian, has discovered an ancient scroll of profound theological value. This same scroll is the one Richard Pullman—an academic theologian, archaeologist, and owner of a ship salvaging business—has pursued his whole life, sometimes at the cost of derision from his academic peers. Many doubted its very existence. The Book, as it is known, is actually a compilation of seven scrolls, bound together by a series of seven seals. In the wake of its discovery, the world is beleaguered by a succession of natural disasters, possibly a consequence of the sixth seal being broken, an act of desecration. The imponderable danger now revolves around the seventh seal being broken, which would supposedly doom the world to Armageddon, an irreversible nuclear winter. The Navy entreats Pullman to lead a mission on his boat, partly staffed with his own crew and partly with SEALS, to recover the Book before it’s too late. The complex plot is multilayered but presented with credible clarity. Action unfolds with energy and gets a human element in the form of Pullman’s new romance with his longtime business partner, Rebecca Georganas. While the suspenseful race to retrieve the book is gripping, the reader is also drawn into the internal conflict within Pullman, whose agnosticism is challenged by the global fulfillment of religious prophecy. The story has a few fantastic twists, but in a world on the brink of extinction, Heiberger has the ability to make the unlikely seem possible.
A fast-paced thriller with some intellectual meat on its bones.