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Posted January 17, 2010
Mr. Anouchi has the basics of a great adventure. It holds more interest as it goes further into the story. Some of the sentences are too academic and pedantic and do little to develop the characters or the story line. This makes it more of a documentary and less of a thriller. He needs to have a through line that helps to keep the interest of the reader, the characters straight and the suspense exciting. It is almost a connect the dots problem-one thing did not always lead to a logical sequence or direct the movement to action. Thrillers need a lot of action and less academic expository writing.
The characters needed to be flesh and blood. With Elaine, and the Dali Llama, he achieved this.He left the issue of the convert ie his father and what happened to his mother hanging!! What a great opportunity for secondary conflicts in the adventure. But the other characters for the most part were quite two dimensional. It was too much of a litany of credentials and did not create interest in the people as to their impact on the story. It does have the potential of being a real page turner. The chapter that ended with 'kill him' grabbed my attention and I wanted to read the next chapter. It would also help if the time, place and people had more interesting descriptive writing. Gaps in time sequence needed filled in especially in the scenes of the disguised monks. It was a great opportunity for a secondary plot that also got left hanging.
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Posted January 18, 2010
Posted July 12, 2010
The Bismillah provided for the poor in the beginning, but later the organization took a startling turn and began its evil descent into madness, destroying some of the very people it vowed to protect. In Arabic its name meant "in the name of Allah," but just what did Allah have to do with the slaughter of innocent Jews? Palestinian Haj Amin Al-Husseini, the Great Mufti of Jerusalem had called to the Arabs to eradicate the lowly Jew. A child was born into this madness, one whose father Benjamin vowed would rise up against the pograms and defend the Jewish honor. Avner Akiva Amram would learn about peace, about pograms, and would ultimately chase down the clues within elusive scrolls, unraveling the threads of Jewish history.
When Avner's life was beginning, Thubten Gyatso, the Tibetan Dalai Lama, was preparing to select his successor. A strange Shofar and a cylinder with an indecipherable Hebrew inscription were brought to him for inspection. The Dalai Lama had little time to ponder their meaning, but knew they had to be safeguarded. They ultimately drifted back into hiding as the sands of time continued to flow. In another place and time, Ibn Najad began to hatch a plot against the Jewish people but this was an intellectual plot, a plot that would confuse and shatter their notions about their history. He contemplated his scheme and shuffled through his desk and "took out one of the six old parchments he had purchased from an antique dealer in a Beirut flea market." (pg. 42) These parchments would blow them all away and no one would be able to detect the forgeries.
Avner's Harvard training would suit him well as the scrolls began to come to light. The questions they posed were burning ones. "Will I ever gather sufficient clues to reconstruct the mystery of the Maccabee Scroll?" (p. 152) But what about the Shlom-Zion, the Rabbi Akiva, the Bar Yochai? And then there were the parchments. There were no "guardian angels" to help solve the mystery.
This is a tale that, at times, seemed to cultivate a story that bordered the thin line between fact and fiction. It did not prove to be a sensational thriller along the lines of the DaVinci Code, but rather caught my attention as an historical journey. The pace was slow, methodical and carried more historical weight and intrigue than any simple supposed earth shaking thriller. The author's knowledge of archaeology was evident in that even the names and origins of scrolls could well surface in time. For example, there has been archaeological field work in Tel Dor, Israel and the Tel-Dor scroll, although somewhat implausible, could well surface.
Some of the dialogue was uncultivated in one section and sounded as if the characters were using English as a second language. I could not discern whether or not this usage was intentional. The story was fascinating, but the reader cannot expect a fast paced work, but can expect an historical work of art that is well worth reading. The pace is slow, steady, and for me, a mesmerizing insight into Israel and its conflict with those who would choose to annihilate their population rather than appreciate them and their intriguing history of survival against all odds.
Quill says: If you want to take a mesmerizing journey through time and look at the history of the Jews through the eyes of a wide spectrum of individuals from those who embrace Judaism to those who hate it, this is an excellent choice!
Posted June 9, 2010
Posted February 16, 2010
By starting with the riots at Hebron Anouchi plunges us straight into the horrors of events at that time and place. Ibn Najad is introduced in the middle of his violent activities. The suspense is built up with excitement. Ibn's sudden call to meet the Mufti and be involved in setting up a covert organization aimed at getting the Jews out of Palestine is a surprising twist in the plot. Then comes the birth of Avner Amram, and his father's decision, ' I'll teach my son to defend the Jews from pogroms.' The two sides have been set up, and the scroll which Avner's father sees in his dream is clearly going to be at the heart of the action. The plot is developed well, and the characters are vivid and realistic. The narrative style is excellent, fast moving and exciting. One of the best historic thrillers of 2009.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.