I've recently signed on to participate in a blogging for books program with WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing (that's a mouthful). Now, before everyone gets all excited that I've gone and landed a paying writing gig, it ain't like that. It's more of a quid pro quo arrangement where the publisher makes novels available for me to read at no cost and I, in turn, write a review. If I honestly and sincerely believe the book I read is bad, WMP will still accept my review. Obviously, I need to be professional about it but there is no sense that WMP is forcing me to write a positive review, no matter what.
If it's bad, it's bad...
I wanted to make sure I was clear on all that since this is my first review for WMP, but now the story is the thing!
The Scroll - available in hard cover, paperback and Kindle versions from Amazon, and paperback & Nook versions from Barnes and Noble - is a good book.
As you might imagine, a novel written by a couple of guys who have collectively written somewhere in the neighborhood of 66 fiction and non-fiction books is well written, well researched and an enjoyable read.
The Scroll is built on the premise of an adventure - call it a treasure hunt if you will - centered around the Copper Scroll. The Copper Scroll is a real object and is, in fact, one of the famed Dead Sea Scrolls. Found in Cave 3 near Khirbet Qumran (West Bank), and designated as 3Q15, it differs from the rest of the Dead Sea Scrolls in that it is written on copper, not parchment or papyrus.
Another interesting difference is that the Copper Scroll is not a literary work - it is a list of locations where gold, silver and other precious items are buried. I don't know what all is noted on the real Copper Scroll, but in the novel The Scroll, it lists the hiding places of important artifacts from the Hebrew Temple. Imagine, if you will, the turmoil that would take place in Israel if even some of the original articles from the Temple - i.e. the Table of the Presence, the Altar of Incense, the Temple Treasury, the Gold Lampstand, etc. were found, intact, today.
Anyone with any biblical knowledge at all can well guess at the importance to both Judaism and Christianity if these items were found - not to mention Muslims, whose holy shrine sits atop the alleged location of the 2nd Temple.
Artists rendering of the second Temple
Okay, let's recap: In one of the most volatile cities on earth (Jerusalem) where Jews, Christians and Muslims all lay claim to incredibly important holy sites, invaluable objects are found which could, theoretically, motivate the building of the prophesied third Temple. And this in the midst of a modern powder keg of religious contention and ever-present threat of terrorism or even outright war.
I think Dr. Jeffrey and Mr. Gansky have the conflict in their story covered pretty well.
The characterization of The Scroll is well laid out with the protagonist, biblical archaeologist Dr. David Chambers, dealing with multiple conflicts of his own in addition to the nerve-wracking task of finding the lost temple artifacts. Another key member of the cast is Chambers' love interest, Dr. Amber Rodgers, who also seems to have a budding relationship with another member of the archaeological team. There are mysterious benefactors, menacing Israeli security agents, politicians with questionable motives...all very effectively blended into the tale.
I don't really want to go into too much detail. For one thing, obviously, I don't want to give too much away. But also because a couple of the plot twists and turns are fairly easy to figure out as you go along, so I don't want to make it any easier for you to unravel.
Technically The Scroll is a solid novel. Composition, grammar, usage - all the boring stuff - is well put together. there is depth - at least to the primary characters; and new characters are introduced with good pacing and purpose. And although I am a Christian (which should come as no surprise to my readers) I do believe The Scroll is an enjoyable read for anyone. Some of the more pointed moments in the book might be a little uncomfortable to a secular reader but not to a degree that I believe will detract from their enjoyment of the tale.
On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest, I give The Scroll a solid 4 stars.
If you like your adventure fast-paced, intelligent and interspersed with eye-popping historical authenticity, The Scroll is definitely for you.
In order to comply with FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers (WMP) provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. I would personally like to state that, to my knowledge, WMP does not restrict my review submissions based on whether I submit a negative or positive opinion, and that this is as fair and unbiased a review of The Scroll as I can present after reading the novel from front to back. As someone with limited time to read and review books, I will state that I do as much as I can in advance to determine if the novel I choose to review will be - at least - something I find interesting to read.