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  • Posted March 16, 2010

    A moving and thought-provoking "religious thriller".

    This novel is like none other I have read. The opening chapters are moody and mysterious and the writing is quite beautiful. We are quickly introduced to the story's central character, "Dimiter," who then recedes into the backround as the scene shifts from Albania to Jerusalem. Only gradually do we see what his place is in this second half, and the key role he plays in the story as a whole.
    The plot is not a simple one. Several narrative threads are created along more or less parallel lines, then dropped for a time, only to be picked up and concluded later in the book. Eventually, all of these strands are woven together and a startling picture emerges. I won't spoil your read by revealing what that picture is. I will say, however, that it is most unusual as well as uplifting in a completely unexpected way.
    If I were to point out any drawback to the book as a whole, I would say that the second half seems somewhat shortened compared to the first. And I enjoyed the story and the quality of the writing so much that I would have been preferred to see the story extended for several more chapters. As it is, however, the pace is quick and the tension builds until the "mystery" of Dimiter is revealed.
    This is not a book for everyone, however. I think you have to love fine writing and be interested in exploring some pretty serious subjects, like the nature of God's involvement (if any) in this world and the extent to which violent acts can conceivably be justified in the name of a "good" God to fully appreciate it. This book tackles some weighty topics much in the way that "The Exorcist" (also by Blatty) does, but the stories are not similar otherwise. And anyone who picks up this book expecting spinning heads or pea soup will be disappointed. If memory serves, this book is darker and more serious in tone than "The Exorcist", despite the many surprising humorous exchanges between some of the characters in the second half. (Surprising to see on the book's dust jacket that the author has written several humorous books and screenplays, including "A Shot in the Dark", one of the first Inspecter Clouseau films.) And while I can't say that it has changed my mind about God or any of the topics mentioned above, it has certainly made me think more deeply about them. This is a book that almost demands a second reading, because there are many subtle, almost subconscious clues regarding the climax scattered throughout the earlier chapters. In addition, the main characters in the Jerusalem section of the book possess a depth which one does not usually encounter in a "thriller" of this kind.
    In short, I highly recommend this book, but be prepared to be challenged and have your thinking cap on and fully-charged when you sit down to read it.
    Meanwhile, buy the hardcover. Kindle be damned!

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted December 9, 2010

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    Posted May 14, 2010

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    Posted December 28, 2010

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    Posted July 18, 2010

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