For those who bother to pay attention, reality comes with some very fascinating aspects, stories, plots, characters and situations. It has the added benefit of being real. But sometimes authors like to throw something extra in. Generally those stories fall in the genres of sci-fi and fantasy. Unfortunately some authors fail to grasp that unless one is writing in those genres one must stick very closely to the real and the believable. The fantastic comes across as forced, amateurish over-kill.But before I continue in that vein, let me note that I did thoroughly enjoy Craig Parshalls new novel The Rose Conspiracy and in spite of the exaggerated character development, the plot was intriguing, to a point.The main character, a retired law professor, now practicing law, by the name of [wait for it] J.D. Blackstone. [you may groan now] takes the case of an artist, a young woman, accused of murdering the head of the Smithsonian Institute and stealing the newly found and long lost letters of John Wilkes Booth.The idea of the book is interesting albeit a bit tabloid.The plot was, as I said, intriguing, but the climax a bit of a let down after so much exaggerated drama from the rest of the book.Ive never been impressed with using fiction to attack a group. I didnt like it when Salmon Rushdie did it, and even though Im no great fan of freemasonry, there are better avenues to launch criticism of them than fiction. Attacking the practices of a group, in that way seems to me a bit unmanly. Liberals do it all the time. Conservatives should really be above those kinds of base and lowly tactics. While there was quite a bit of interesting historical data, Ive learned that authors often will invent history to make a story more appealing, so its best never to assume any of its true unless you can confirm it somewhere else.Parshall does miss one of the most important qualities necessary for good fictionmake it believable.
A high-powered thriller weaving historical qualities with potent substance and electrifying twists to the end. Riveting and captivating, it is masterfully written and draws you into the inner workings of conspiracy theories that never lets up.There are no slow moments, the timing of surprises are not anticipated. Thoroughly relishing the adventure it demands your attention until the last page.Not only highly recommended, but hope to see more like this from the author!-Monika Shaw, founder of the Winning Woman Network
Upon receiving this book and looking at the blurb on the back cover, I was prepared not to like it. It has conspiracy in the title and mentioned the Freemasons in the blurb.In addition, it was a Christian novel. I dont read many of those because they tend to be romances (UGH :) ) and are usually very predictable, with a main character getting saved near the end.I was pleasantly surprised.Parshall has woven a nice little mystery around the Lincoln assassination, the Freemasons, the Smithsonian Institute, the Bible, greed, and mans eternal quest for immortality.The elements of conspiracy reminded me somewhat of Dan Browns The Da Vinci Code and the legal maneuvering made me think back to Scott Turows Presumed Innocent.Vinnie Archmont, a beautiful artist, is accused of killing the curator of the Smithsonian Institute and stealing the missing pages of John Wilkes Booths diary. Financed by a wealthy Freemason living in England, she hires J. D. Blackstone, a law professor and high profile lawyer, to keep her from the death chamber.The key seems to be a cryptic fragment purportedly from the diary. Blackstone must crack this code before the lovely artists trial. His journey to unscramble the meaning takes him into the secrets of Freemasonry, the occult and personal danger, while he tries to deal with his own personal demons.Then comes the day of the trial and a surprise ending. The last chapter almost ruined it for me, but was sufficiently vague as to keep Blackstones salvation in question.In any case this is a worthy read.
On a scale of one to ten - an eight point five.I would recommend this book to any reader; especially those who enjoy criminal or historical fiction, specifically those with a Judeo-Christian worldview.My greatest criticism is predictability in the early chapters.Overall I enjoyed the read; though not as engrossing as I prefer, it was a pleasant read and not a waste of time as so many are after you've read thousands; by that I mean the author overcame my overread prejudices.As a big fan of historical fiction, I would have enjoyed a greater development of the Lincoln assassination and the plethora of Civil War connections. But on the whole the work did not suffer from their absence.