The Barnes & Noble Review
Centuries-old secret religious orders clash in Eric Van Lustbader's Testament -- an action-packed, pedal-to-the-metal thriller that revolves around long-suppressed documents that could not only rock the very foundations of Christianity but also irrevocably transform humanity forever.
After Braverman "Bravo" Shaw's father is tragically killed in an accident, his uneventful life as a risk management consultant is quickly turned upside down. Bravo's dad, it turns out, is a high-ranking member of the Order of Gnostic Observatines, a secret sect of monks believed to be long extinct. For centuries, the Order has diligently guarded civilization-altering artifacts (including the Secret Gospel According to Mark, which discredits Jesus' divinity, and the Quintessence, the fabled fifth element that is rumored to have the power to raise the dead and bestow immortality) from an opposing sect bent on crushing the Order and exploiting its secrets. Bravo's father has concealed the cache, and with its location hidden in numerous cryptograms the race is on -- and so is the countdown to Armageddon…
The Testament will inevitably be compared to Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code -- there's just no escaping it -- but this novel is much more reminiscent of EVL's 2004 espionage masterwork The Bourne Legacy. Sure, there are cryptographic riddles, labyrinthine quests, and historical religious subject matter aplenty; but the real power of this novel lies in its never-ending plot twists and breathtakingly fast pacing. While certainly not one of Van Lustbader's defining works -- like The Bourne Legacy, The Ninja, or The Ring of Five Dragons -- this meaty thriller will have readers captivated until the very last page. Paul Goat Allen
Bestseller Lustbader (The Bourne Legacy) jumps on the Da Vinci Code bandwagon with this high-octane but familiar tale of yet another lost gospel that would rock the Catholic world. This time, the secret for which the faithful are not prepared is that Jesus was restored to life by "The Quintessence," the mysterious fifth element, rather than by divine assistance. Competing secret factions, of course, pursue this substance, with its promise of eternal life, plus a fragment of the Testament of Jesus Christ, which confirms its existence. The cloak-and-dagger war draws in Bravo Shaw, a medieval scholar whose father was a secret member of the centuries-old Order of the Gnostic Observatines before the repressive Knights of St. Clement murdered him. With the help of Jenny Logan, another Gnostic Observatine agent, Bravo dodges death and betrayal every few pages. Dan Brown fans who like their thrillers dressed up with research and ingenious puzzles won't find much of that here, but the action-packed story will keep them turning the pages anyway. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Lustbader, the prolific author of fantasy (the "Pearl Saga" series) and thriller (Ninja) and literary heir to Robert Ludlum, here dives into the crowded Da Vinci Code pool. As is typical of this new subgenre, the story centers on two secret societies with nifty names that have battled each other since the Crusades. One group, descendants of a religious order founded by followers of St. Francis of Assisi, has preserved a cache of documents that includes a Testament attributed to Christ. The other group consists of knights originally sponsored by the papacy to destroy the order and acquire the documents. Also typical of this type of novel, we have the requisite cryptanalyst/medieval scholar, in this case one who knew nothing of his father's secret work as Keeper of the Testament and who follows the clever clues left him by his father, while we never know whom we can trust. Though the subject matter does not relate to Mary Magdalene or the Holy Grail, fans of Dan Brown's Code will enjoy this thrilling novel. Recommended for most popular fiction collections. [The author's wife, Victoria Lustbader, made her fiction debut this year with Hidden.-Ed.]-Laura A.B. Cifelli, Ft. Myers-Lee Cty. P.L., FL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Let's see: There's a secret Catholic cult that harbors a secret so faith-shaking that Christianity might collapse were it known. They're willing to kill for it. Hmmm . . . The good news is that Lustbader (The Veil of a Thousand Tears, 2002, etc.), a prolific author of genre pieces, can actually write. That alone distinguishes him from Dan Brown. The bad news is that this book is too long and a touch too shaggy-and that, no matter what, it's likely to draw comparison to The Da Vinci Code. There are some gross similarities, but never mind. The hero is a medieval-studies ninja who knows how to love and fight, to say nothing of pray, thanks to a father who just happens to be a higher-up in the Order of Gnostic Observatines-a bunch of Franciscans who haven't quite absorbed the founder's message of peace. Dad, though, gets blown up by baddies in the service of the pope, a way-top-secret gang of priestly pummelers called the Knights of St. Clement. There's been bad blood between the two organizations for generations, as Braverman Shaw, aka Bravo, discovers when it's his turn to bop around New York and Venice and Paris and Trabzon ("As a student of medieval religions you're no doubt disappointed to see what's become of fabled Trebizond, eh?") and points between to fight for the true faith. Braverman bears his own cross-it's enough to say that thin ice and a sibling figure in the tale-but is still present enough to acquit himself well with the ripe Jenny Logan, another member of the Order who may or may not be telling all she knows. He does okay when put up against those evil Knights, too, one of them a pretty girl with a rather skimpy suit of armor and a talent for making men talk. A competentactioner: The Bourne Supremacy with a smattering of Froissart, and enough car chases and explosions to keep things interesting.
From the Publisher
“Eric Van Lustbader proves again that he is the master of the smart thriller. In The Testament, Lustbader takes on the oldest, newest, and biggest issue the world faces today--religious extremism--and he does it with skill, insight, and energy. A terrific read, well written, well researched, and well worth your time.” Nelson DeMille, New York Times bestselling author of Wild Fire
“Like Robert Ludlum, Lustbader is at his best when he is created a twisted web of intrigue, violence, double cross, and his own brand of oriental esotericism. . . . He proves himself a master storyteller.” Publishers Weekly on The Testament
“The Testament is a riveting tale of secret sects, religious miracles, and medieval history that blends seamlessly with today's political issues. Paced like the wind, intelligent, and engrossing--The Testament is Eric Van Lustbader at the very top of his game.” Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Templar Legacy
“One of the great thriller authors--the writer who gave us The Ninja--returns with a lightning-paced novel that reinvents the genre. His many fans will rejoice to see that Lustbader is back and at the top of his form.” Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Killer Instinct on The Testament
“Sensational . . . ancient intrigue and modern action prove that the future of the thriller lies in the past.” Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author of The Hard Way on The Testament
New York Times bestselling author of The Templar L Steve Berry
The Testament is a riveting tale of secret sects, religious miracles, and medieval history that blends seamlessly with today's political issues. Paced like the wind, intelligent, and engrossingThe Testament is Eric Van Lustbader at the very top of his game.
New York Times bestselling author of Killer Instin Joseph Finder
One of the great thriller authorsthe writer who gave us The Ninjareturns with a lightning-paced novel that reinvents the genre. His many fans will rejoice to see that Lustbader is back and at the top of his form.
New York Times bestselling author of The Hard Way Lee Child
Sensational . . . ancient intrigue and modern action prove that the future of the thriller lies in the past.