Last Secret of the Temple

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In the year 70 AD, as the Romans sacked and destroyed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, a young Jewish boy was hidden away and chosen as the guardian of a great secret. For seventy generations this secret remained safeguarded. But in present day Israel, a Jewish radical threatens to reveal this hidden truth and use it to rend apart the fragile Middle East—and only an unlikely duo of hardened detectives of very different origins and a young, enterprising Palestinian journalist can ...

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The Last Secret of the Temple

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Overview

In the year 70 AD, as the Romans sacked and destroyed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, a young Jewish boy was hidden away and chosen as the guardian of a great secret. For seventy generations this secret remained safeguarded. But in present day Israel, a Jewish radical threatens to reveal this hidden truth and use it to rend apart the fragile Middle East—and only an unlikely duo of hardened detectives of very different origins and a young, enterprising Palestinian journalist can unite to ward off disaster.

A relentless and fast-paced thriller that moves from Egypt to Jerusalem to the Sinai Desert, that spans the millennia and involves Cathar heretics, Nazi prisoners, and modern-day suicide bombers, Paul Sussman’s The Last Secret of the Temple is a thrilling, roller-coaster adventure that brilliantly examines the participants on both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Timely, important, and completely absorbing, it marks Paul Sussman as one of today’s great thriller writers.

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Editorial Reviews

Ross King
For those who enjoyed his first novel, The Lost Army of Cambyses, in which ancient mysteries mesh with front-page political events, The Last Secret of the Temple won't disappoint. The same up-to-the-minute headlines figure strongly in a novel that begins with the sack of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70. Set against a background of suicide bombs and fragile peace negotiations, it marks a second outing for Yusuf Khalifa, Sussman's Egyptian police inspector…Sussman succeeds on the strength of his intelligence, empathy and sense of pace. The novel uses some stock materials—a plundered temple, a Crusader castle, a Nazi archaeologist, a lost treasure that must not fall into the wrong hands. But the story is propelled along by the strength of the protagonists, with Sussman blocking in plenty of background while neatly avoiding the pitfall of winching in large chunks of history. Khalifa, in particular, is a fine creation, a decent man struggling with his preconceptions in a world that's become a moral as well as a political hornet's nest. And just when the plot begins to look too obvious, he produces a few more narrative tricks from up his sleeve.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

A bestseller overseas, Sussman's follow-up to The Lost Army of the Cambysesopens at Jerusalem's Holy Temple in the year 70, jumps to doomed WWII German prison camp inmates dragging a Nazi-purloined holy relic down an abandoned coal shaft and then fast-forwards to present-day Egypt. There, Det. Insp. Yusef Ezz el-Din Khalifa of the Luxor police investigates the murder of an old man whose body has been found at an archeological site in the Valley of the Kings. Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, Palestinian journalist Layla al-Madani and Israeli police detective Arieh Ben-Roi have their own sad histories and complicated lives to deal with. Eventually, Sussman twines all the threads into one, and the three principals are hard on the trail of the mysterious artifact hidden by the prisoners. There are familiar Da Vinci Codeelements, but Sussman, an archeologist, puts in plenty of satisfying twists and turns, and grounds the story in the violence and intrigue of the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Egyptian police detective Yusuf Khalifa returns in Sussman's second historically tinged thriller after The Lost Army of Cambyses. This time he's investigating a mysterious death that may be connected to a host of dark secrets from the past, including an old unsolved murder, Nazi treasure hunters, and the possible fate of a fabled treasure of the Jewish Temple, thought to have been lost since the Roman conquest of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. Meanwhile, two other investigators, an Israeli detective and a female Palestinian journalist, independently pursue related and converging investigations amid the tension and violence of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The historical nature of the investigation, the religious connections, and the convoluted conspiracies are reminiscent of The Da Vinci Code, but the author's pseudohistorical apparatus is less thoroughly worked out, limiting the book's cult potential. The story has enough energy and action to carry it past a few logical gaps, but the author's portrayal of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may strike some readers as unnecessarily provocative, and a supernaturally tinged coda to the story seems artificial and forced. An optional purchase for public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ7/07.]
—Bradley Scott

Kirkus Reviews
The search for a hidden treasure that will be either a blessing or a curse for the state of Israel reopens wounds from the Holocaust and threatens to worsen the state of Arab-Israeli relations, if such a thing is possible. This latest entry in the blast from the mysterious biblical past sweepstakes begins with the Roman destruction of the Jewish Temple in AD 70 and the last minute spiriting away of the Temple's greatest but mysterious and unrevealed treasure. After a side trip to the Austrian Alps as the Reich is collapsing, where SS troopers are hiding a Large Heavy Box with Unrevealed Contents in a remote salt mine (could there be a connection with the Temple Treasure?), Sussman (The Lost Army of Cambyses, 2003) sets the reader down in today's wretched Middle East for what seem to be unrelated stories in Jerusalem and Cairo, plot lines that will converge and lead-yes-to the Treasure. In Egypt, Inspector Yusuf Khalifa, an honest, hardworking detective with a strong background in archaeology who is nearly the only likable character to be introduced, takes on the case of apparently murdered Dutchman Piet Jansen. Khalifa quickly learns that Jansen was not murdered but was quite possibly the culprit 15 years earlier in Khalifa's first case as a policeman. Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, attractive but ruthless Palestinian reporter Layla al-Madani has received an anonymous letter containing a sheet of medieval code that promises to put her in touch with al-Mulatham, a renegade Palestinian firebrand. While Layla follows the code to Cambridge and Languedoc (the tragic heretical Cathars pop up briefly), heartbroken Israeli police detective Arieh Ben-Roi (a suicide bomber showed up at his wedding)nurses his rage against Palestinians, chugs vodka and follows his gut until he gets the phone call from Egypt that will start tying all the plot lines together. Clunky prose swaddles a frantic but unexceptional plot. Agent: Laura Susjin/The Susjin Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871139726
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/10/2007
  • Pages: 560
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Sussman’s two great passions are writing and archaeology. He fulfills the former by working as a freelance journalist and the latter by spending two months a year excavating in Egypt. His first novel was The Lost Army of Cambyses. He lives with his wife in London.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 340 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(105)

4 Star

(105)

3 Star

(58)

2 Star

(44)

1 Star

(28)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 340 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    So much better than Dan Brown

    This book was amazing. If your a fan of Dan Brown you will love Paul Sussman. Sussman has a better mastery of the english. His plot line so much more indepth. So much more intense; the story has you hooked and twists and turns take you by supprise and the end stirs a great deal emotion. The characters are masterfulyl developed....I'm rambling now, but this was truely a GREAT book. Love it!!!!!!!!

    49 out of 55 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Great mystery with atmosphere

    This is a great read for many reasons. The story is compelling and fast paced. I really liked the viewpoints from several different characters. It is also rift with messages on getting along with your fellow man and the similarity of feelings from different points of view. I picked this book because I am a fan of both Amelia Peabody and the DaVinci Code. I was not dissapointed.

    38 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2007

    couldn't put it down

    At first I was a little confused with the jumping back and forth, but it all came together fairly soon. I loved the egyptian detective,and I did not expect a couple of thing's that happened at the end, but it was the first book all summer that was hard to put down.And I read a lot. I hope he writes more.Some books you read for the joy of a good story, and it doesn't have to be possible, just for the fun is always good for me.

    33 out of 41 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2010

    Really great!

    From page one to page 538 you will not want to put this book down. Lots of characters, but never confusing. Well written. Few books this long will hold your attention like this one does.

    30 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2012

    Offensive language!

    The description sounds interesting, but they never tell you aobut the offensive language.

    25 out of 68 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2012

    This book

    His book has 181 F words. I will read 1 or 2 but this bis ridiculous. Oh my word people. Horrible author. 11 F words on one age :(

    24 out of 60 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2008

    Amazing...

    It grips you from the beginning when the story begins with the Romans seizing Jerusalem and a young Jewish boy, and a secret. The story is told from the perspective of a Luxor detective, Palestinian journalist, and an Iraeli policeman, not to mention various activists and other characters along the way. It is a gripping thriller that ropes in ancient religious traditions, the Nazis, and the modern-day conflict between Palestine and Israel. <BR/><BR/>It is a book that tugs at your logic and is extremely intriguing. Amazing book. Enough said...

    20 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2012

    Great read

    Kept my attention. Good story.

    12 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2012

    AVOID THE TROLLS

    Sklp over the first 20 posts none are relevent to this book. Either read the editorial reviews or skip down past the trolls in order to find people who have actualy read the book.

    10 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 15, 2012

    I finished this book in a day on my Nook. I became engrossed wi

    I finished this book in a day on my Nook. I became engrossed with the characters and how they were going to eventually intertwine. Great plot with a lot of twists and turns, religious artifacts, history, mysticism and very richly drawn characters. What not to like?? There are a lot of swear words but that didn't bother me. My favorite character was the Egyptian detective! Highly recommended! A Former Free Friday Winner!!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2012

    Waste of Time

    Thought this would be good based on reviews comparing it to Dan Brown. Beginning was promsing, however, 200 pages in, and nothing much is happening. Extremely slow- moving plot, which just appears to be a cover for the extensive emphasis on Palestinian/Jewish conflict, which didn't have much to do with the thin plot. Finally gave it up. Also, not normally too offended bylanguage, but the use of the f word and the c word are over the top.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2012

    Fantastic story!

    This was a Free Fridays book a couple of weeks ago. It was a fantastic read - started it straight away and abandoned the other book I was halfway through. Very good writing - flows easily. Sophisticated language, clever story, and great "colour" references - author obviously knows his theme. Will be buying more by Paul Sussman.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 10, 2012

    Reading the reviews was enough for me not to want to read this

    Reading the reviews was enough for me not to want to read this book. Permeated with F bombs? No thanks; maybe a lot of people think this makes it &quot;real world&quot;, but it's not a good part of the world and at any rate, it isn't part of my world. Comparable to &quot;The Da Vinci Code&quot;? Puh-leeze; it was the single worst-written book I ever read. Again, no thanks.

    4 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2013

    Very good book

    I initially did not like the book because it seemed to be disjointed; however, I had already invested enough energy into it to keep reading. I am glad that I did. After all the characters were established the pace picked up dramatically. I particularly liked the Egyptian detective. I was not offended by the language, but I had to keep reminding myself that the author was trying to give a realistic feel to the religious upheaval in the area. The prejudice exhibited in the novel gave me pause; however, it did set the stage.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2012

    This was a great book, hard to put down with lots of twists and

    This was a great book, hard to put down with lots of twists and turns. Relevant current day topic with historical fact and religious prophecy; Sassman did a good job of bringing it all together. Some of the places in the book I have been to and it made it more exciting as I had a context for it. The characters are very well developed and you get a good feel for them and their positions. I will read his other books. Sorry to hear of his passing; I was looking forward to more books from him.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    Slow to start...great finish.

    It took a while for me to get into the book as it started off quite slow but once it started to heat up I became hooked. Its a great story. Much like any of Dan Browns books, which I love. It had a good amount of action but the ending was a happy one. I really enjoyed it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2012

    Non-stop action makes this hard to put down. There is excellent

    Non-stop action makes this hard to put down. There is excellent portrayal and development of characters in the almost-current Middle Eastern ambiance (based on my other readings - not first-hand). I sort of had the plot figured out about 2/3 of the way through, but there were still some surprising twists at the end,which was mostly convincing and satisfying - &quot;closure&quot;.

    My only quibbles would be an overuse of the F-bomb (and other crude language), but it seemed plausible for the situation/characters, who are in the thick of life (and death) in the raw. I also picked up a sense of a slight &quot;tilt&quot; towards the Palestinian cause, but there were a lot of counterbalancing parts,too, so not anything like blatant (unless the reader is really hard-core pro-Israel - that viewpoint might make this an uncomfortable story overall).

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2012

    If you are really really interested in Israeli and Palestinian p

    If you are really really interested in Israeli and Palestinian politics, you'll love this book. If not... YAWN. I am not sure I'm even going to manage to finish it; every time it gets a bit interesting they go off on another political tangent. I'll certainly not buy another by this author.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2013

    Gave up

    I couldn't read this. Gave up at page 112. The mystery death got lost in all the political rhetoric.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2013

    recomend

    You will enjoy if you like following different people as they check out a murder, a picture from different starting points. It all comes together later. I was glad I stuck with it. Was not sure about it at the start though. But understand I like to just follow one thing at a time.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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