This ponderous collaboration between Rollins (Bloodline) and Cantrell (A City of Broken Glass) opens with an arresting prologue set in first-century Israel. As the Jewish defenders of Masada prepare for their mass suicide, their leader, Eleazar, ritually sacrifices a young girl in a cave below the mountain fortress. Flash forward to the present, when a cataclysmic explosion destroys Masada, leaving as sole survivor a boy whose cancer was cured by the toxic smoke that emanated from below the mountain. At the request of the Israeli government, archeologist Erin Granger joins forces with Sgt. Jordan Stone, an American Army Ranger, to find out what caused the catastrophe. Add a peculiar Catholic priest and a lost gospel to the attractive male-female team and its quest for the truth, and you have yet another religious thriller with a gimmick that fails to match that of The Da Vinci Code. Agents: (for Rollins) Russ Galen and Danny Baror; (for Cantrell) Elizabeth Evans, Mary Alice Kier, and Anna Cottle. (Jan.)
An entertaining if sometimes far-fetched religious-tinged thriller by mysterians Rollins (Bloodline, 2012, etc.) and Cantrell (A City of Broken Glass, 2012, etc.). What if the Vatican were built atop a pet cemetery or the moral equivalent of an Indian burial ground? What if Herod's Massacre of the Innocents had actually happened? What if Saint Peter, the rock on which the church was built, was an action hero? All these possibilities pop up in Rollins and Cantrell's confection, which operates on the always tetchy premise that Christ's blood sacrifice finds responses in the blood sacrifices of others, including unwilling virgins--or so the evidence suggests when an earthquake in Masada, site of yet another blood sacrifice all those years ago, exposes a cave inside of which is found the mummy of a girl throwing most curious mudras. Soon, an unlikely cast from the worlds of archaeology, religion, warfare and crime fighting descends on the place, and what they piece together over the course of the narrative threatens--natch--to shake the world of organized Christianity to the ground, not least because Christ himself has a few revisions to make in the record. There are lots of Indiana Jones–like moments throughout ("It is no mere weapon," says a warrior priest. "It's a symbol of Christ. That is beyond weaponry."), a little romance, lots of car chases and explosions, and lots of oddball twists, including encounters with a strange Russian priest named Rasputin, a mysterious Eastern European heavy with the most suggestive name of Bathory and a gaggle of goal-oriented fanatics. And does the firmament crack open as the "great War of the Heavens looms"? That depends on whether you see room for a sequel at the end of this romp. Good escapist reading in the Dan Brown vein. And these writers can write.
A powerful earthquake near the ancient Jewish fortress of Masada kills hundreds, but its powerful tremors also reveal a secret that had remained hidden for nearly two thousand years: a subterranean temple that houses the crucified body of a young girl. To investigate this seemingly inexplicable discovery, the Israeli government dispatches a strangely mismatched trio of investigators: a brilliant female archaeologist; a secretive Vatican priest; and a methodical military forensic expert. Almost immediately, their project runs into resistance, but the first attack on them is only the beginning of a deadly dangerous fight to retrieve a long-suppressed message from Jesus. A Da Vinci Code-like novel with a radical new slant. Now in mass-market paperback and NOOK Book.
Masada, in modern-day Israel: a devastating earthquake kills hundreds in the area and reveals an ancient tomb-temple buried in the rock plateau underlying the ancient fortress. A trio of investigators—Sgt. Jordan Stone, a military forensics expert; Father Rhun Korza, a Vatican priest; and Dr. Erin Granger, a brilliant but disillusioned archaeologist—are sent to explore the subterranean temple, which holds the mummified body of a crucified girl. A brutal attack at the site sets the investigators on the run, thrusting them into a race to recover what was once preserved in the tomb's sarcophagus: a book rumored to have been written by Christ in his own blood, and said to hold the secrets to his divinity. The enemy who hounds them is like no other, a force of ancient evil including vampires and vampirelike animals. VERDICT This work is all thriller fans would expect from a combination of Rollins (Bloodline) and the Macavity Award-winning Cantrell (A Trace of Smoke): cutting-edge science, ancient history, and a solid gothic mystery plot. Publishing plans call for this to be a trilogy, but this combination may be just too good to stop with only three books. Fans of the authors will not be disappointed, and those who lapped up The Da Vinci Code will be clamoring for more in this series. [See Prepub Alert, 7/15/12; the prequel, City of Screams, is available as a digital original: ebk. ISBN 9780062262561—Ed.]—Vicki Gregory, Univ. of South Florida SIS, Tampa