Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Review: The Secret Scroll

Summary: Josh Cohan, a work-obsessed archaeology professor, has a recurring dream about uncovering a great secret. He follows his instincts to the Judean desert, where he makes a fantastic discovery—an ancient scroll which seems to have been written by Jesus Christ. The Israel Antiquities Authority has a claim on the scroll, but another, more sinister organization wants the scroll as well. The Guardians, members of an ancient extremist religious sect, are willing to kill to get what they want.

Josh joins the government-sponsored team of translators who believe the scroll might be genuine, and falls in love with Danielle, the fiery daughter of one of the translators. When a friend turns up dead and Danielle goes missing, Josh realizes that the scroll might be more powerful and controversial than he had ever imagined. Will Josh be able to prevent something terrible from happening to the woman he loves without giving up the most important discovery mankind has ever made? -- beaufort books

When I saw the summary of THE SECRET SCROLL by Ronald Cutler on various book websites, I just knew I wanted to read it. Fortunately Lisa Roe, an on-line book publicist, had copies of this book to share with book bloggers who agreed to review it. While I didn't love this book, it was a fast read that held my interest. I actually think that this book might make a better movie than a book (as a book lover, I don't say that very often.)

I am fascinated by the history surrounding the Holy Land; and as a result, I liked reading about the different religious artifacts and holy grounds. I thought the author did a good job of describing the feel of this area. I can't imagine a more interesting place to visit -- for now, I'll have to "see" it through books like this!

One thing that I found worth mentioning in THE SECRET SCROLL was the unusual power (for lack of a better word) that Joshua had -- at times, he appeared to be almost "Jesus-like." I thought the meditation aspect of his character was very interesting, but his healing properties seemed a little supernatural to me. Although, I have to say that his special "abilities" did set this book apart from other books in this genre.

Evidently Ronald Cutler is a famous radio personality who decided to try his hand at writing. He conducted a lot of research for this book, reading over 75 books on Biblical Archaeology. I understand that thriller books are very plot-driven (and I did find the plot pretty interesting), but the writing was just okay to me. I'm having difficulty pin-pointing exactly what I thought was missing, but I think the characters were one-dimensional. I especially thought this with the Master, the leader of the Guardians -- he seemed almost the typical stereotype of a villian.

I'm not sure that my book club would enjoy discussing this book, although we did read THE DAVINCI CODE a few years ago and most of us liked it. While I definitely liked THE SECRET SCROLL, I personally don't think it lends itself to a very good discussion. Obviously some people disagree with me because there is a reading guide available. If you are interested in learning more about Mr. Cutler, there is also an interesting interview here.

Also reviewed at:
Girls Just Reading


Andi said...

I read this book, too, also for Lisa, and had almost the same reaction. The idea of this being a movie rather than a book is brilliant. I would see that movie. If you want to compare reviews, mine is at http://www.andilit.com/?p=118.
I love seeing other people's reviews.

LisaMM said...

I started reading this book and found I couldn't/didn't want to finish it, for all the reasons you stated. I agree that a movie might work better. However, I met and briefly spoke to the author at the Festival of Books in UCLA a couple of weeks ago and I just wanted to add that he was very pleasant.

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i second a movie over the book

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