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The Last Secret of the Temple

The Last Secret of the Temple

3.6 350
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 an


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.

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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Meet the Author

Paul Sussman is a journalist and author. He has also worked as a field archaeologist, and was part of the first team to excavate new ground in the Valley of the Kings since Tutankhamun was found in 1922. His first novel, 'The Lost Army of the Cambyses', was an international bestseller and has been translated into 28 languages. He is married and lives in London.

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