The discovery of a long-lost prophetic manuscript triggers a series of increasingly catastrophic events in this promising debut thriller.
A Boston electrician discovers the book in a mysterious box in his grandfather’s attic. Curious about whether it was truly authored by Nostradamus, he calls his brother-in-law, who owns a used bookstore. Unbeknownst to them, someone else is listening to their conversation: An ex-KGB hacker who sells stolen data to anyone who can pay his exorbitant fees. One of his clients is a shadowy terrorist group that is willing to give nearly anything to obtain Nostradamus’ text and the powerful secret it may hold—the location of the Ark of the Covenant. When the hacker lets his contact know that the book may have been discovered, events are set into motion that threaten not only the individual characters’ lives and families but international stability as well. Each chapter covers the point of view of one of the many characters, telling his or her story gradually until they begin to intersect. A highly-skilled assassin, an undercover Iranian agent in a Jewish monastery, an up-and-coming computer genius, a history professor with a secret past, a jaded former Army colonel, an inexperienced American president, his chief of staff, and others come together as the plot gains steam. Parts of this novel are too wordy, with excessive description and long character backstories that slow the story’s momentum; at more than 900 pages, this book is far longer than most others of the genre. However, the action scenes are suspenseful and most chapters end on a tension-filled cliffhanger that compels the reader to keep turning pages. The overlapping story threads are ably balanced and offer genuine surprises. With the multitude of characters in play, no one is truly safe, and that unpredictability serves the book well.
This is an imperfect but intriguing novel from a new writer with real potential.