Wednesday, 2 September 2009

The Sacred Cipher by Terry Brennan

Zero to 100 is one way to describe the pace of this novel. It starts out harmlessly enough with the discovery of a stash of old scrolls in a New York mission. Then odd and frightening things begin to happen to those involved in reading one scroll in particular. Near misses and almost-fatal accidents point the men to the significance of the find. Much time is spent on filling in the background history - of which there is plenty - mostly by way of dialogue and questions batted back and forth. Finally our scholars, amateur and otherwise, crack the near-impossible code in the scroll and realise what they have on their hands.

An expedition is mounted to Jerusalem to attempt the daunting task of proving or disproving the scroll's hidden message. At this point the story becomes a big boys' lark as our city slickers prepare to become archaeologists. This element of wide-eyed discovery and good plain fun in the face of danger continues to be a large part of the story's appeal.

The action and adventure mounts in leaps and bounds as our intrepid and largely clueless explorers determine to reach their goal in the face of overwhelming odds. But not only that: the magnitude of the matter at hand soon looms larger than any personal struggles as astonishment and wonder take the place of grit and fear. A couple of amazing saves out of left field are required to get our boys out of the massive international unrest they've gotten themselves into the middle of.

Recommended for guys in particular, and also anyone who likes breath-snatching action and plenty of supernatural intervention at just the right moments.
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