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Posted July 6, 2012
I added this book to my Nook on a whim--now I want more! Dr. Ramsay subtly weaves Biblical characters with fictional ones so that there is a surprise in every chapter. I love books that keep me thinking, not just about the "mystery," but about the characters and the setting as well, and this one meets every requirement. It was advantageous to have a pretty thorough knowledge of the time period, Roman, Egyptian, and Israeli, but his historical explanations both at the beginning and the end further enhance the novel. I still kept wanting to "turn back" to the opening notes to review what he had said or to look at his "family trees," however. (This is the one thing I do not like about my Nook--not his fault, of course--but the difficulty with looking back and my poor eyesight makes doing either thing nearly impossible.) So, in a sense, I'd have rather read this in book form. However, I'm busily looking at his other selections right now trying to decide on a second Nook book, so I guess it's not TOO irritating. I did go to the internet and look up Herod's family at one point, however. No matter your religion, this book is fabulous! I hope the suggested historical characters appear in additional novels.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 15, 2012
Set in the year 28 CE, in the city of Jerusalem, this book cleverly mixes historical figures with a first rate murder mystery. Frederick Ramsay has his protagonist, Gamaliel, the chief Rabbi and leader of the Sanhedrin, summoned by Pontius Pilate to investigate the murder of a girl whose body was found in the bath in the palace of King Herod. Readers will discover a new, fresh approach to Biblical history while enjoying the progression of the sections of the book which are named after the Hebrew days of the week; for example, the first section is titled Yom Rishon, which is the name of the first day of the week, equivalent to our current Sunday. The title of the book comes from an observation made by Gamaliel in reference to the legendary Dance of the Seven Veils, reportedly danced by Salome, the step-daughter of Herod, which led to the beheading of John the Baptist. We get new insights into the character of Yosef bar Kayafa, or Caiaphas, and there are references to a certain troublesome, heretical Rabbi who is not named, but whom Christian readers will have no problem recognizing as Yeshua or Jesus. The wry humor and observations of Gamaliel reflect his wisdom, and add to the flavor of the book. Readers will discover along with Gamaliel that the murdered girl was more than just a servant, and that the pendant which she wore contains a key to her rape and murder. This book is written well, and since it's fairly short for a mystery novel, would make great weekend or vacation reading. Highly recommended.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.