The Masada Scroll: A Thriller

The Masada Scroll: A Thriller

by Paul Block, Robert Vaughan

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In the great tradition of novels like The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas and, more recently, Christ the Lord by Anne Rice and Stone Tables by Orson Scott Card, The Masada Scroll is bold and reverent, with deep and important meaning for today's world.

At the heart of this timely novel is the discovery of a previously unknown gospel that predates the four gospels of the New Testament. The scroll introduces a mysterious symbol that combines the Star of David, the Cross of Christianity and the Crescent and Star of Islam. None of these symbols existed at the time the Gospel was written, adding to the mystery that Michael Flannery, an Irish priest, must unravel.

Flannery discovers that the symbol represents the Trevia Dei, or Three Paths to God. At the heart of Jesus' message is the unity of the paths that lead to God. The true meaning of Trevia Dei has become perverted over the centuries, turning the message of unity into a single path to salvation.

But there are those who do not want the message of this wonderful book of light and love brought to our troubled world, who have chosen to separate rather than unite God's children.

The Masada Scroll is the story of the new Apostles who struggle to bring the simple message of Jesus back into a world desperate for joy.

The Masada Scroll is a tale of the timeless quest for spiritual truth and redemption. It is a story that will change the way you look at the world…and your own heart.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781429970020
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 11/27/2007
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 861,950
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Paul Block is the author of sixteen novels and the former editor-in-chief of Book Creations Inc., a book producer specializing in historical fiction. Block is also a working journalist and photographer. He currently is executive producer of, the Web site of the Times Union newspaper in Albany, New York. His photography is featured at Block grew up in Glen Cove, New York, and attended the State University of New York at Binghamton and Empire State College. He has two grown children and lives in the Albany area.

Robert Vaughan sold his first book when he was 19 years old. That was 50 years, nearly 250 titles, and 20 million books ago. Writing under 35 pseudonyms, he has hit the New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists twice.

His book Survival (under the pseudonym K.C. McKenna) won the Spur Award for best western novel (1994), The Power and the Pride won the Porgie for best paperback original (1976), and Brandywine's War was named by the Canadian University Symposium of Literature as the best iconoclastic novel to come from the Vietnam War. He was inducted into the Writers' Hall of Fame in 1998.

Paul Block is the author of 15 novels and the former editor-in-chief of Book Creations Inc., a book producer specializing in historical fiction. Block also is a working journalist and photographer. He currently is senior producer of the web site of the Times Union newspaper in Albany, N.Y. Block grew up in Glen Cove, N.Y., and attended the State University of New York at Binghamton and Empire State College. He has two grown children and lives in the Albany area with his wife, Connie.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1 A bubble of light flared as Gavriel Eban lit a cigarette. Shielding his eyes against the afternoon sun, he glanced over at the low stone structure that two millennia ago had held grain and other provisions for the final holdouts at the fortress of Masada. Silhouetted in an open doorway were a half-dozen men and women, members of the archaeology team spending their break huddled around the door to take advantage of the cooling breeze spilling from within. Eban was too far away to make out more than an occasional word, but he fantasized that they were Zealot fanatics debating how to defeat the Roman troops who had laid siege to their mountaintop stronghold. And he pictured himself a Zealot guard with a broadsword strapped to his side rather than the 9mm Jericho 941 handgun that was standard issue for Israeli security police. In his musings, the final assault had begun, and it would soon fall to him and the handful of other security officers--no, Zealot warriors--to bring glory to the Jewish nation at the points of their swords. But this wasn't the first century, it was the twenty-first, Eban reminded himself. There were no Roman soldiers, no Zealot uprising, to alleviate the numbing boredom of another long, hot day working security at an archaeology dig where the only enemy assault was by the dust devils that swept across the desert valley surrounding Masada. Eban took a long drag on the cigarette and dropped it to the ground, crushing it into the dirt with his boot, remembering his promise to Livya that he'd quit. He smiled at the image of her waiting for him in their Hebron apartment. A few more hours and he'd be home, climbing under the covers beside her. A shuffling movement caught his attention from off to the side. Turning directly into the sunlight, he saw the figure of a man approaching from around one of the fort's small outer buildings. "Moshe?" he called, squinting as he tried to make out if it was one of the other guards on duty. "Moshe, what are you doing out here? I thought you were at the--" A silver blade flashed once, then sliced across Eban's throat. He felt a sting, then wetness as blood from his carotid artery spilled down his neck. He opened his mouth, but the windpipe was severed, his scream silent as he dropped to his knees and clawed at his neck. He looked up at his attacker, his expression beseeching, his lips forming the word: Why? Only the man's fierce, blazing eyes were visible from behind the dark headdress that covered his face. His reply was as cold as the steel in his hand as he leaned over and thrust the blade upward into Eban's heart, then kicked his lifeless body onto its back in the dirt. The assassin's raised arm and clenched fist summoned others, and eleven more men in dark headdresses and clothing materialized from behind the nearby rocks and stone walls. With hand signals and gestures, he directed their gruesome task. Unsuspecting and unarmed, the victims went down under the knives and garrotes of the assault team. Even through the thick stone walls, they could hear the terrifying sounds from above, the moans and cries and prayers of the dying. "Hurry," she said. "We must not let it be found." Her companion dropped to his knees to scoop up dirt with a short-handled shovel, the pungent odor of freshly turned earth assailing his nostrils. "Hurry," she urged. "We don't have much time!" "I'm almost deep enough." He gasped for breath as he increased his labor. Another scream, this one so close as to make both of them jump. Then a mournful dirge: Yeetgadal v' yeetkadash sh'mey rabbah B'almah dee v'rah kheer'utey. "Give it here," he said, dropping the shovel and reaching toward her. "Is it deep enough? This must not fall into the wrong hands." "It has to be. We have no time left." Y'hey sh'met rabbah m'varach l'alam u'l'almey almahyah. Y'hey sh'met rabbah m'varach l'alam u'l'almey almahyah. Above, the chanting of the Kaddish grew fainter as the voices trailed off one by one. The assassin walked among the bodies, rolling each onto its back to examine the face, as the rest of his team searched the area. One of them came hurrying over and said with a shrug, "It's not here." "It's nearby," he replied, not bothering to look up at the fellow. "She said it was here, and I believe her." "Look for yourself; it's not here, I tell you." "Have you checked inside all the buildings?" he asked. "Of course." "Search them again." He gave a dismissive wave. "Find the woman." He didn't bother with her name. His team had been drilled for countless hours; they knew all too well who and what they had come here for. "Find her, but be careful she isn't harmed. She will lead us to it." Down in the basement of the stone building, the woman kept vigil by the stairs as the man quickly filled the hole, tamped the dirt, and tossed the shovel to one side. "The shovel," she whispered excitedly, gesturing at where it lay. "Of course," he said, realizing it was evidence of the burial site. He snatched it back up, then scraped his foot over the ground, hiding any remaining marks of the dig. She was again peering up the stairs at the doorway above as he came over and placed a hand on her shoulder. "It's time for us to go." "Do you think it's safe?" she asked, fear evident in her eyes as she looked up at him. "We have done all we can do. Whether the door opens upon Heaven or Hell is now up to God." Outside, the cries and prayers were stilled, replaced now by the soft whisper of the wind. The soft whisper of the wind slipping by the MD-111 gradually emerged into his consciousness. Opening his eyes, he blinked against the harsh light streaming through the window of the airliner, then squinted down at the shimmering surface of the Mediterranean. "Father?" He half-heard the voice, his thoughts concentrated on what he had just experienced. Ancient desert ruins . . . hooded terrorists dressed in black . . . steel blades slashing through skin as a man and woman buried their treasure in the ground. Was it a dream? A vision? Was he recalling some distant memory from a book or movie? "Father Flannery?" the woman persisted. "Are you Father Michael Flannery?" Shaking himself out of his reverie, Flannery turned to see a young flight attendant looking down at him with eyes such a brilliant green they had to be the work of contact lenses. "Yes," he acknowledged with a forced smile. She held forth a slip of paper. "The captain received this for you." Her eyes narrowed, her expression almost conspiratorial as she leaned across the empty aisle seat. "You must be an important man. It's not often a passenger gets an in-flight fax from the Israeli government." "Thank you," Flannery said, taking the fax. He waited until she left the first-class cabin before reading it, though he was sure she had already done so: Fr. Michael Flannery: Upon arrival, please report directly to the office of the chief of airport security. I will meet you there to expedite you through customs. I look forward to seeing you again. I think you are going to find this visit quite illuminating. Preston Preston Lewkis was a professor of archaeology at Brandeis University. He and Michael Flannery had met and become good friends almost a decade earlier when the Irish priest taught a semester course on Christian artifacts in Israel at the campus in Waltham, Massachusetts. They had maintained contact ever since, and Preston's recent e-mail had been both mysterious and intriguing: Michael, come to Jerusalem as soon as you can. Trust me, my friend--you don't want to miss out on this. Ask no questions now. Just write back with your flight information. All expenses will be reimbursed. If Preston's e-mail had been crafted to pique Flannery's curiosity and guarantee his compliance, it had done the trick. Now, less than twenty-four hours later, he was about to find out what this was all about. "Masada," Flannery whispered as if in reply. The last he had heard, Preston was serving as a consultant to the team excavating the ancient Jewish site. Which likely explains my dream, he realized with a nod. But what has Masada to do with me? Flannery tried to clear his mind of the questions that had consumed him since receiving that e-mail. All would be answered soon enough, he knew. Better to use the remainder of the flight to catch up on the sleep he had missed during the whirlwind of preparations for this trip. Tucking the fax into his jacket pocket, he lowered the window shade and closed his eyes. To still the jumble of thoughts, he inwardly voiced the Lord's Prayer, sounding the Latin tones slowly in his mind almost as a meditative mantra. The second time through, he became aware of a faint glow, as if the sun were rising in the distance. It filled and slowly supplanted the darkness of his inner vision, highlighting the barren landscape, the stone ruins that peopled his surroundings. A flicker of movement caught his attention, and he made out two figures, a man and woman moving arm in arm away from him, framed by the rising light. And then a whispering sigh . . . the wind, or a voice? he wondered. "Heaven or Hell . . . it is now up to God," the woman repeated, glancing over her shoulder as if directing her words at the priest watching from the distance. The man spoke words Flannery could not make out; then the couple embraced and began to intone a Hebrew prayer. They took a few more steps forward, then vanished into the burst of light as the sun lifted above the horizon. Flannery remained motionless but felt his body rushing forward to where they had been standing. He found himself at the edge of a precipice, gazing out upon a desert valley hundreds of feet below. The sun flashed ever more brilliant, beams of light piercing his head and throat and heart. There was no sign of the man or woman . . . only the searing white light. And the cry of a thousand voices vibrating within him as he took up their Kaddish dirge: May His great name be blessed forever and ever. May His great name be blessed forever and ever. Copyright © 2007 by Paul Block and Robert Vaughan. All rights reserved.

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The Masada Scroll 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Block and Vaughan are to be commended for a gripping story with timeless relevance for today's reader. Their exploration of the story of the 'good thief' crucified with Christ, and the thief's son's role in the formation of the early Christian church resonates with realism. The interweaving of past and present keeps one turning the pages to find out what happens next. At the book's core is the thought-provoking and potentially controversial idea that Jews, Christians and Muslims may each find their own way to the One God.
clay myhre More than 1 year ago
twas a wonderful kept me on my toes the entire read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Masada Scroll is the prototypical page-turner, as the biblical story we've all heard is embellished, based on the real-life discovery of an account of the gospel found in the fortress at Masada in Israel, and what might have happened to eventuate its presence there. The story intertwines biblical times with modern times, and confronts -- head-on -- religious differences, and also the possibility of co-existence. It has been described as a cross between The Robe and Raiders of the Lost Arc. I strongly recommend it on many levels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although This great novel is fiction, it tells the story of Christ that is still very true and spiritualy spellbinding. It was one of those novels that I couldn't put down after I started.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great captivating story that is so uplifting, i could not put it down.