I haven’t read a book by Jerry Jenkins in a long time. His style and pace was something I remember enjoying with the Left Behind series but I never branched out into his other writings. With all of that being said, I liked about 90% of the book. I didn’t necessarily love it, but it was fun to read. New characters in the christian archaeology thriller genre are hard to beat out the old ones but this one is worth the time for the new perspectives it brings to the apostles Luke and Paul. (Spoilers ahead)
The premise of the novel is in the same vein as The DaVinci code and the Templar Novels. Paul’s lost manuscript has been found and is now being sought after by art thieves and archaeologist. Enter, August “Augie” Knox, a theology professor at a small independent theological seminary in Dallas. His connections with tour guides and theologians in Rome pulls him into this now crazy race to find, protect, and ultimately reveal the precious artifact. I really like this new Augie Knox character and would be willing to read a story with him again. His faulty and quirky in a wholesome way that is continuous approachable. The problem is that the bad guys and psuedo-bad guys are wood characters and for the most part transparent in both motive and scheme. At the same time that we get this story, three others are layered on top of it. The story of Augie and his future wife. Paul in the last few weeks before his execution in Rome and the actually autobiography that Paul has written.
The other major problem I have with the story is Paul’s motivation for persecuting Christians. We get a great POV into how he is trained in Jerusalem and becomes a member of the Sanhedrin. We even see how he logically stands against Jesus’s ministry during his times at the Temple Mount and crucifixion. The problem occurs when it is assumed by Jenkins and MacDonald that a broken heart is his major reason for persecutions, it lost me. It actually got to a point were I wanted to speed through the story of Luke and Paul to get back to reading about the lost manuscript being found and moved around. In the end I cared more about Luke not getting caught in Rome, during the writing of the manuscript, than I did about Paul’s pre-conversion story