December 15, 2012

Book: The Book of Names by Jill Gregory and Karen Tintori

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 7:44 pm

imagesWell, another mystery adventure book that cannot seem to decide what it wants to be. The book is a complete Jewish immersion with every character being Jewish and much of the action happening in Jerusalem.

In a way, it tries to be a Da Vinci but gets carried away where the hero (in a minute I will come to him) tries to do a James Bond kind of unplanned attacks without the intellectual pursuit of Dan Brown’s heroes.

The story begins well indeed. It is an Egyptian archaeological site where the famous archaeologist Sir Rodney Davis is digging through for a parchment, convinced against all odds that it is there. He is helped by a loyal, well built assistant Raoul LaDauceur, who sticks with him through thick and thin. When the parchment has been unearthed, in his moment of triumph, Sir Rodney is assassinated by Raoul himself, who now has achieved his life’s dream.

On to David Sheperd, who, after an accident that near killed him, involving a roof top romping with friends starts remembering names at random. There are hundred names, which are the saviours of the world. Kill them all, and the world belongs to the Dark Lord. (No, this is not a children’s comic. It is meant as a serious adventure book!). The scroll has most names, and they are killed systematically by the Satan cult to which Raoul belongs. They all report to a mysterious head of the organization called Serpent or Crispin.

Now, the Rabbi who holds a talisman required to break the code enlists Yael HarPaz, who is a detective investigating the crimes and she pulls David in to help because of his symbology background (What? Wait. No this is not another Robert Langdon of Dan Brown books).

There is a whole description of Kabbalah, but not the Madonna variety (the ‘real’ Kabbala), Yael’s father, who is a conservative Rabbi in Israel, who frowns on her falling in love with a ‘casual’ Jew like David, spirits ascending up and up in levels until they reach salvation, and a whole lot of childish plots involving Italian Prime Minister, (the fictional) Eduardo DiStefano, and the major villain who turns out to be the childhood friend of David when he was involved in the accident.

It turns out that David somehow is able to recall the hundred names, and they set out to protect them as the Serpent and his organization set out to destroy them.

A whole pile of what the authors think are nail biting suspense scenes with the villains one step behind the hero pair most of the book and David attaining spiritual purity in the original land of Israel and then a happy ending where the evil forces are vanquished and the world saved from eternal doom.

I think this only rates a 3/10

— Krishna


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