The Sacred Cipher: History's Greatest Secret Could Be Tomorrow's Greatest Threat
Fast-paced, intriguing read
"The Sacred Cipher" by Terry Brennan, was my first jaunt into the genre of Biblical archeological fiction. The classic example, I'm told, is Paul Maier's "A Skeleton in God's Closet". As a "Bible geek", who enjoys studying biblical languages and following the history of Biblical texts, I thoroughly enjoyed this work. It's hard to believe that this is truly Brennan's first novel.
The story centers on a discovery, in an old New York mission building of an ancient scroll written in an unknown script. Tom Bohannon, the director of the Bowery Mission, gets swept up in the effort to decipher the mysterious scroll. Drawing on his journalistic background and his connections within academia, Tom begins to unravel the scroll's secrets. Along the way it becomes more and more obvious that others are interested in the scroll, and they will do anything to possess it.
The fast-paced plot will keep you on the edge of your seat, as the story takes you from New York to Jerusalem and beyond. Along the way you'll discover mountain hideouts and underground caverns, secret rooms and secret messages, ancient tunnels and very contemporary security measures. The book holds something for the average fiction reader, but especially thrills the arm-chair archeologist. Anyone interested in ancient languages and historical puzzles will be intrigued by Brennan's well-researched adventure.
When the story moves to Jerusalem, the scroll's secrets threaten to undue the fragile peace of the region. When you pick up this book, you too won't have any peace until you finish it! It's that good!
Disclaimer: This book was provided by Kregel Publishers for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
May 23, 2011
An archaeological thriller! Hard to put down.
Renovations were underway at the historic Bowery Mission in New York City and by chance, the construction workers came across a hidden room behind the organ pipes of the chapel. Tom Bohannan, executive director of the mission quickly realizes that what they've discovered is the office of Dr. Louis Klopsch, the first president of the Bowery mission. While the office has the traditional furnishings you'd expect, the one piece of furniture that stands out is a large ornate safe. After a bit of searching through Klopsch's desk and file cabinets, Tom discovers the safe's combination. Much to his surprise, the safe is filled to the brim with books, scrolls, manuscripts, and the like. The most unique item in the safe is an ornate mezuzah containing a five by twenty four inch scroll. The writing on the scroll is in a script that Bohannan and his brother-in-law do not recognize. Accompanying the mezuzah was a letter from Charles Spurgeon to Dr. Klopsch warning that there are men who will kill to posses the very scroll that they held in their hands. Their curiosity peaked, Bonannan and his brother-in-law Joe Rodrigurez embark on a journey to uncover the meaning of this mysterious scroll. The deeper they dig, the more dangerous things will get. Their journey will take them from the streets of New York City all way around the world to the city of Jerusalem. What they uncover could be the greatest archaeological discovery of all time. However, it may also be the last straw in the constant struggle between the warring factions in the Middle East.
If you're a fan of archaeological fiction, you need to read The Sacred Cipher. Terry Brennan's engaging style will keep you on the edge of your seat as you work your way through all of this book's 352 pages. This well researched work of fiction will be enjoyable for the both the academic reader as well as the armchair archaeologist. This book was truly a pleasure to read and deserves a rating of five out of five stars.
Terry Brennan has had an extensive career in journalism, winning several awards, including the Valley Forge Award for editorial writing from the Freedoms Foundation. Terry served eleven years as the vice president of operations for the Bowery Mission in New York City and is currently a management consultant
Disclaimer: This book was provided by Kregel Publications for review. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
January 19, 2011
The Sacred Cipher by Terry Brennan has one of the most intriguing and captivating opening sequences that Ive ever read. Immediately plunging into a world of mystery, intrigue, and yes danger, Brennan takes us into the life of Tom Bohannon as he works to discover the hidden secrets of a long-hidden scroll that leads him beneath Jerusalem to a discovery that will change the world.Though Brennan did lose me in some of his more directionally-oriented passages that describe directions, dimensions, navigation etc. (this is a common reading challenge for me), I was glued to the pages of The Sacred Cipher definitely in for the ride. His work is fun conceptually (whether we think the storyline is probable or not), and has tie-ins with biblical end-times world prophecy.I also enjoy reading novels where the author clearly writes himself into the story in a prominent way. Not only does our heros name mirror that of the author (T.B.) but he is also writing from life experiences when both he and his hero serve/have served at the Bowery Mission of New York City. Our hero also has a strong Christian worldview, and an ongoing personal faith relationship that is evident throughout the book as he depends upon his Father for guidance and protection. His faith also comes into play during his discussions with his skeptical companion.If you enjoy reading code breaking, archeologically oriented adventure stories, add Brennan to your list of authors to checkout, I think youll enjoy his writing.
September 29, 2010
Terry Brennan has crafted an intriguing novel that kept me turning the pages to uncover the secret of the unknown cipher that is mysteriously discovered in the safe of a room that has been sealed for decades. It becomes even more exciting when they travel to Jerusalem on their quest. What an incredible ending!
January 1, 2010