An ancient Coptic monastery, a hidden desert hideout, the Oval office, and Jerusalem’s Temple mount — these are a few of the stops in Terry Brennan’s latest whirlwind novel. From Lebanon to Ireland, New York to the Suez, The Brotherhood Conspiracy weaves an intricate web of secrecy, espionage and discovery.
The sequel to Brennan’s earlier debut novel The Sacred Cipher, this book continues the adventures of Tom Bohannon and his motley crew of archaeological detectives. Having already discovered a hidden Jewish temple built on the Temple mount but below the Dome of the Rock, an even more outlandish prize lures the frazzled team back to the dangerous quest of discovery.
Once again the author pursues a relentless pace using a staccato rhythm, moving the story one bite-size portion to the next. That approach may be wearisome to some readers, and is frustrating in the earlier portion of the book for those readers who didn’t just put down his earlier book before beginning its sequel. The plot keeps one guessing as the potential of an end-times return of Christ cannot be dismissed, even as the role of a **spoiler alert** newly rediscovered Tabernacle **end spoiler**, doesn’t seem to fit any popular end-times Christian fancies.
Brennan appeals to the amateur archaeologist with his mention of cartouches (Egyptian hieroglyphic ovals), discussions of Demotic and Coptic languages, and his historical treatment of the Crusaders and Jewish history. Occasionally, I found some errors in his historical facts which stood out glaringly against the overall historical emphasis in the tale. 1 Maccabees is mentioned as a book that the Council of Trent removed from the Bible (in fact it was the Protestants who removed it and Trent affirmed its canonicity), and the prophet Jonah is mentioned as having preached 40 years (instead of days) to Nineveh. The story itself stretches credulity, but the first book’s miraculous find of a centuries-old Jewish temple sets the stage for anything being possible. Brennan’s masterful character development and ability to draw out a wide range of emotions from virtually all of his characters keeps the story tethered enough to reality, that the reader goes along with the incredible — and happily at that. One other quibble with the book is its lack of illustrations or maps. At several points in the tale, a visual depiction of what the author labored to describe would have helped immensely.
Fans of archaeological fiction, in the vein of Paul Maier (A Skeleton in God’s Closet) and Don Hoesel (Elisha’s Bones), will enjoy this latest offering from Terry Brennan. Those looking for a fast-paced read with characters striving to follow God’s leading in their lives even as they battle against Islamic assassins and try to evade Israeli intelligence — on a mission for the President of the United States, no less — will also enjoy this intriguing work. I recommend the book and look forward to the third (and final?) book in this series.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by Kregel Publications. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
About Book Briefs: Book Briefs are book notes, or short-form book reviews. They are my informed evaluation of a book, but stop short of being a full-length book review.