The Messiah Secret- James Becker- Review
The Messiah Secret is an adventure novel where the characters are out to find an artifact from history that could change how religion is perceived. Generally these novels are about hunting down something that can completely change how a historical figure or time in history is seen and understood. This novel was no different. Angela and her ex-husband Bronson go on a chase through Egypt to find what they at first believe is the Ark of Covenant. They are trailed by a religious leader and a greedy business man who are all out to find the same thing. It is a race against time to decipher the clues and find the object first. The one twist or turn this novel took that was different from the other novels of this type that I have read is that what they initially think they are searching for isn’t what they actually end up finding. It was more this element then anything else that made me continue to read the book until the end.
I love dialogue in a book. Dialogue can show so much about a character. One conversation can tell us almost all we need to know about someone. The way they speak, the tone and the word choice are extremely telling elements of a story. Unfortunately I found the dialogue in this novel lacking. The dialogue was very hard to find realistic. The words were very crisp and almost business like a lot of the time. I found it hard to believe that some of these conversations would actually take place.
Much of the dialogue was used to clarify or restate what we already know is happening. Such as they are being chased and we get a description of the chase while the characters say out loud that they are being chased. They didn’t seem to be reacting to the situation, more just saying out loud what was happening. As a reader I like the dialogue to tell me how they feel about the situation. I just found the dialogue taking me out of the story sometimes.
What I did like was the backstory to what they are looking for. The fact that they were wrong at first was refreshing and realistic to me. Generally in these type of novels the pursuers figure out exactly what they are looking for right away. All the clues end up pointing them to one place without much question or debate. Rarely are the protagonists wrong in their deduction of the puzzles.
In this novel that isn’t entirely the case. They spend half of their time believing they are looking for the Ark of the Covenant. This assumption turns out to be wrong. What they are actually looking for turns out to be still connected to Christianity but in a much more serious manner.
What they are actually looking for is something that I have read about before, but the backstory and explanation was much different and interesting. It definitely made me think which is a result I love. Any story that makes me reconsider an idea or person or moment in history gets extra points in my book. I love questioning something and even though the characters don’t question the discovery too much the reader is able to.
This story flowed very quickly and was an easy read. I just wish the characters had been stronger. I honestly didn’t care who won in the end. I just wanted to know what they were actually searching for. I kept turning pages because I was intrigued by the end result of the quest or the “treasure.” It made no difference to me who won or who got it in the end.
One character in particular, Donovan, had a very interesting reason for this search. I desperately wanted to know more about him and why he was putting so much effort and time into this search. He seemed like he could have been fascinating but we only got the surface of him. All the characters were the same, they all had their initial reasons for their mission but nothing deeper. These types of stories are fun but they are even better when we get multiple motives and are invested in why the character are searching.
For an adventure novel this is a fun and quick read. The “treasure,” is a new take on a known idea that makes you stop and think for a moment. This element and the fact that the end result is different then what the initial search was for are the reasons to enjoy this quick read.