by Don Hoesel
My Rating: 3.75 of 5.0
Publication Date: July 1, 2013
More Archaeological Adventures from Popular Suspense Writer Don Hoesel
A decade after Serpent of Moses, Jack is married to Espy and back teaching at Evanston University. They have two sons, one of whom has cystic fibrosis. Despite this challenge, life is comfortable. But that all changes when the CIA, while combing through the papers of the late Gordon Reese, uncovers the secret of Elisha's bones. Jack's world is then turned upside down by an urgent call from his old friend Duckey, who's been alerted to the CIA's probing by one of his former contacts. Jack and his family escape from their home just ahead of the CIA, and he decides to do what he should have done long ago: recover the bones and destroy them. Except the bones aren't where he left them.
So now Jack is in a race, for the last time, to find the bones. And he's not the only one. Pitted against both the CIA and an organization that will kill to protect their secrets, Jack and Espy follow hard-to-decipher clues across the globe before arriving in the catacombs of Paris for a final showdown that will either save their family--or tear apart everything they hold dear forever.
Jack and Espy met when Jack was a young adventurer and relic collector. Now he is a professor and they live a quiet life with their two boys. Suddenly their world is disrupted by a corrupt, rogue CIA operative, Mckeller. Mckeller’s wife is very ill and he knows that Jack and Espy had located the bones of Elisha ten years before. The bones are rumored to be able to raise the dead, as described in the Biblical story. Jack knows they work (an event from a prior book) but he and Espy had buried the bones rather than turn them over to a corrupt man years before. Mckeller wants the bones and he kidnaps the boys to use as leverage.
Jack and Espy head off globe hunting trying to get the bones. They fly from South America to Australia where the bones were buried only to determine that they have been removed. They follow faint clues seeking to uncover members of the secret organization that was designated to guard the bones. Their search for the new location takes them to London, St. Petersburg, Russia, and Paris. Along the way they uncover puzzles, with Espy’s language skills and Jack’s logic skills, that lead them to investigate cemeteries, basements, prison cells and catacombs.
Jack and Espy meet two of the head members of the powerful organization. Jack takes a risk and calls in the help of the Israelis who would have an interest in recovering the bones. Now they are dodging not only the CIA man who is trying to keep tabs on them but someone who is trying to kill them.
Although I enjoyed the action in this story and the various puzzles and solutions were interesting. (Made me think of National Treasure even more than Indiana Jones.) Unfortunately I had some problems with the unrealistic elements and I never really felt engaged with the characters. The couple are racing around the globe with minimal funds and fake passports. They repeatedly lose a tail only to have assassins attack them in their hotel or on the streets. It was a week or so before they even got to talk to their sons to make sure they were okay. It just was hard to swallow. I did like the conflict between the power hungry leaders and I also liked Jake’s solid faith, even accepting the illness of one of his sons. Come to think of it, I liked the irony at the end too.
The ending pulls together in a satisfactory, if not totally surprising, fashion. There is plenty of suspense and danger for those who like mystery and thrillers. There are many more favorable reviews so other readers clearly enjoyed the action and weren’t effected by the implausibility issues.
I received this title through NetGalley and the author for an honest review as part of BookBlast. See Giveaway below and Giveaway at the BookBlast post.
Author Don Hoesel links: Twitter * Facebook * Website
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