Last Secret of the Temple

Last Secret of the Temple

3.6 349
by Paul Sussman

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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

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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 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
From the Publisher

“While Paul Sussman’s brilliant novel, The Last Secret of the Temple, will be compared to Dan Brown’s eight-hundred-pound gorilla, it is so much more. The mystery runs deeper, the history more accurate, the suspense drawn to a keener edge….Here is a thriller on par with the best literature out there.” –James Rollins, author of The Judas Strain

“Not just a tightly plotted, richly observed, thought-provoking thriller, but one with a soul.” –Raymond Khoury, author of The Last Templar

“A brilliant detective novel…Paul Sussman has managed the impossible: a multi-layered quest where all the characters are real and alive, and we should expect the completely unexpected.” –Katherine Neville, author of The Eight

“Another surefire winner from a gifted storyteller.” –Steve Berry, author of The Templar Legacy

The Last Secret of the Temple won’t disappoint….Sussman succeeds on the strength of his intelligence, empathy, and sense of pace…Khalifa…is a fine creation.” –Ross King, The Washington Post

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Product Details

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.50(d)

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Last Secret of the Temple 3.6 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 349 reviews.
jeremy0u812 More than 1 year ago
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!!!!!!!!
Ginya More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.

It is a book that tugs at your logic and is extremely intriguing. Amazing book. Enough said...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept my attention. Good story.
Schmooby-Doo More than 1 year ago
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!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
mcorn More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
grayhairreader More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sussman manages to tie together an ancient relic, Nazi Germany, modern Egypt, Israel and Palestine in a great murder mystery. A little more violence than I like, but should not deter most readers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
arocee More than 1 year ago
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 - "closure". 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 "tilt" 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).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too much wasted detail, cannot keep my attention, too many unconnected plots that by a third into it should be connected. Giving up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a really boring book: the author, the reader can tell, talks too much. So many pages were filled with very tedious details, over and over how many Cleopatra cigarettes the character smoked, interspersed with the same old curse words, over and over.... The author should learn how to edit his writing. I learned to skim dozens of pages at a time just to get to one paragraph of action. I do not recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very exciting find! The author tied ancient history and relic-hunting to modern history and current events. Readers will get a glimpse of how a displaced population is treated (Europeans-Native Americans; English in Ireland; post-WWII Israel claim of land for Jewish people and removing Palestinians). Plot has surprizes all the way through. Readers will winder how everything can tie together, and each storyline holds One's attention so that the pages just keep turning!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was excellent. A great detective story, but much more. Combining different points of view from opposing cultures was genious. It shows the personal sides of those who were "supposed" to hate one another. Lots of twists and turns.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't read this. Gave up at page 112. The mystery death got lost in all the political rhetoric.
love2readCW More than 1 year ago
one of the best books i've ever read - LOVED it!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great mystery. It takes place in the back drop of the Middle East amid tensions between Israel and Palestinians, so the conflict is timely, to say the least. Each character has had tragedy in their lives related to the conflict and they must somehow work with "the enemy." Great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really found this a great read. Suspensful and exciting. Set in the middle of todays powderkeg. I appreciate the authors even handed approach to this sensative area while giving the reader insight into the complexaties involved in this area. The story line was gripping with a real twist. It delivered a positve conclusion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quite a bit of fun and educational,with a good twist ending. All mixed with hope, grudging friendship, and cabbalic mysticism. Kept me glued to my Nook!