MAYAN STAR by Howard  Allan


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A debut religious thriller follows the consequences of the unearthing of an ancient Mayan codex. 

Father Colvin McNeery is an archaeologist and infamously unconventional priest. He’s made a name for himself presenting a heterodox interpretation of the Gospel of Matthew that suggests its author was not a contemporary of Jesus—McNeery claims the star of Bethlehem is Halley’s comet, indicative of a new dating. In search of some astronomical confirmation of his theory, he leads an archaeological dig near Valladolid, Yucatán, in hopes of finding a Mayan record. Mayans were obsessed with the scrutiny and analysis of the stars. His teenage assistant, Humberto Perez, finds a Mayan codex at least 1,500 years old that contains historically transformative information. But shortly after, McNeery is found dead—and the codex is missing—which makes Humberto the prime suspect. Allan slowly unravels a deliciously entangled skein that proposes a shocking possibility—the codex implies that one of two articles of prevailing wisdom is incorrect: the historic discovery of America by Columbus or the timeline regarding the birth of Christianity. Dr. Isabel Reyes, who performs an autopsy on McNeery, strongly suspects he was murdered. She joins forces with Simon Press, a former rabbi and a friend of the priest’s, intent on finding out what McNeery discovered. To make matters even more perilous (and complicated), Miguel Felicio Catalán, also known as El Gato, and León Cortés, descendant of the famous conquistador, two powerful drug lords, have their own interest in the codex. The author constructs a plot not only tantalizingly suspenseful, but also religiously provocative, raising thoughtful questions about the claims of foundational Scriptures in authoritative dogma. In one way or another, all three of the main characters—McNeery, Press, and Reyes—must confront the distance between rational findings and spiritual beliefs. In addition, Allan artfully traces the historical lineage of the suppression of truth—that Mayan codex was brutally concealed in 1562 by a Franciscan monk. This is a wonderful brew of genres—murder mystery and irreverent religious thriller—that is sure to titillate readers in search of both literary action and philosophical stimulation. 

A captivating and intelligent theological tale deftly composed.

Pub Date: May 27th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-692-13196-1
Page count: 365pp
Publisher: Self
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2019


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