A former SWAT team member–turned–amateur archaeologist tries to prove the existence of the biblical King David in this thriller.
After Conner McKenzie’s chronic anxiety ended his career as a federal agent, he went back to school to study biblical archaeology, motivated by a desire to uncover empirical evidence to substantiate key stories in Scripture. Soon after he starts his own business—the Biblical Investigations and Historical Antiquities Company—Conner lands a major contract: Dr. Scott Strickland, an Old Testament scholar, hires him to travel to the Middle East and track down evidence that may prove the existence of King David. Strickland recently discovered an inscription in northern Jerusalem that dates back to the 10th century B.C.E. and describes David’s sword, which may have been hidden by the Queen of Sheba deep in the catacombs of Yemen. Conner recruits his best friend, Chris, also a former SWAT operative, to join him, and the two head for Dubai, Yemen, and beyond. They encounter determined resistance from an organization called the Muslim Advancement Group, which aims to eradicate Christianity from the globe—a purpose that inspires its members to destroy any artifacts that support the historical accuracy of the Bible. Naftari, one of their senior members, attempts to kidnap or kill Conner and Chris more than once, and his men doggedly track their movements. Meanwhile, Chris wrestles with a crisis of faith, unsure of the place of God in his life. Debut author Gregory has clearly done a thorough job researching the details of the biblical story of David as well as the real-life archaeological quest to historically confirm that biblical account. However, the prose is often melodramatic in tone, and much of what transpires feels didactic and clumsy; at one point, for instance, Conner and Naftari argue the finer points of comparative theology while also simultaneously engaging in hand-to-hand combat. Also, Chris espouses dismissive interpretations of the Muslim religion that some readers may find offensive: “What did Muhammad do for you? Nothing. He does not love you; he does not care for you or want a personal relationship with you.”
A lack of dramatic plausibility undermines this religiously charged adventure.