Man was thrown from paradise to suffer and die, but he took a book with him; now modern-day terrorists and the Vatican are willing to kill to possess it.
Opening with a failed suicide bombing attempt in Jerusalem, the book plunges readers into the fevered mind of the bomber and the social consequences he faces following his failure. The dark underbelly of the antiquities market and the desperate search for a mythological Templar treasure build up the story’s pace. However, Azariah-Kribbs unexpectedly switches gears midway and focuses on the thought processes and relationships of several of the main characters, including two Indian women—one of whom is traditional while the other isn’t—and the man for whom they both have feelings. The book loses momentum as it becomes bogged down by unrequited relationships. The pace picks up again as the puzzle of the mythological book is solved and the solution is posted on the Internet for all to see. As a result, there is no more hunger or thirst, and spells can be spoken to provide for every need. As people unlock the secrets of paradise, they nearly become gods themselves; in fact, they pay to have themselves killed and brought back to life so that they can see where they will spend eternity. No one ever encounters paradise however, just the waiting depths of hell. Despite people’s best efforts to serve each other, their outcome never changes. Only the granddaughter of one of the terrorists learns the deepest secrets of the book, bringing the story full circle. Azariah-Kribbs writes in a clear, unadorned prose that keeps the world he had created accessible, even as it deals in the supernatural. Shifting perspective among several main characters keeps the action fast-paced and the pages turning. Azariah-Kribbs is at his most innovative when focusing on the Kryptografik, the mythical book from paradise; he treats the Kryptografik as a character, and this decision feels fresh and enhances the book’s mystical tone. Readers drawn to religious myth and action/adventure will find much to enjoy here.
A rollicking, provocative read that hits a few speed bumps.