Meade, Glenn - 'The Second Messiah'
This thriller is based upon the discovery of a new Dead Sea Scroll. This scroll contains information that threatens to shake the very foundations of the Christian Church and must be kept hidden. At any cost. In fact, lives have already been lost and more could be threatened, as peace in the whole region seems to hinge upon the scroll remaining secret.
The story begins with a flashback to twenty years before the present. Jack Cane, only child of two eminent archeologists, is riding in the back of his parents' jeep as it travels along a mountain road, heading towards Jerusalem, with a newly-discovered ancient scroll hidden inside it. There is a tragic accident and, while Jack survives, his parents are killed in the crash and the scroll is incinerated. Twenty years later and Jack is building a name for himself as an equally excellent archeologist. He also finds an ancient scroll in the same area but, all too soon, people are being killed and the scroll is stolen. Jack finds himself in the frame for murder and sets off on a crazy journey, to Syria and then the Vatican, to try and get to the bottom of what is going on and what really happened to his parents.
The novel is set at a frenetic pace and the reader soon gets caught up in the tale - knowing that Jack is innocent and willing him to succeed but at the same time wondering how things will turn out. There are several unexpected twists in the plot and the ending takes on a more "Christian Literature" appearance, but it still catches you by surprise and makes you smile.
THE SECOND MESSIAH is an interesting look at the well-trodden path of fiction aimed at the mysterious Dead Sea Scrolls. It is far less black than the books I prefer these days, with no 'ick', but is still extremely enjoyable. I was sad to reach the end.
Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland