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31
3.5 out of 5 stars
The Messiah Secret
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 25 April 2011
I really enjoyed this book, I thought from the reviews that it was a mistake to read it but I was pleasantly surprised. It started off very intriguing and then moved to more modern times. I was hooked most the time. I am not a big reader of books but for me this was an easy read- and I wanted to read more and more I did not anticipate or predict the ending I was just happy to have a book that was enjoyable. I liked the references to Egypt and then to India. I feel that the end was a bit strange but I figured it was something along those lines. I would recommend this book if you are open minded religiously and just want an easy going read. I am glad I read it very enjoyable and I good little plot.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 15 April 2011
I actually enjoyed reading this book despite the many flaws, and found it hard to put down; but there are so many flaws I feel I need to defend my own beliefs. If you are going to bash a religion - the at least get the details right!

Firstly the red herring that is through most of the book is useless as the title makes you guess the secret from near the beginning; so the author lost any suspense through trying to gain readers. This did spoil the book for me as there was no suspense... but I kept reading.

Secondly I agree with other reviewers that the woman knew far more than was reasonable and to keep the plot we had to trawl through so much information. And why would a loyal mercenary suddenly turn on his long-term employer just because he suddenly gets a bit squeamish of violence... not sure.

Thirdly, and most importantly for me was the Christian context. Anyone who has a strong faith can cope with challenges to it so I don't mind reading anti-Christian books as long as they are reasonable. but there are so many flaws that people who don't know much about this will not realise.

The negative portrayal of the passionately religious priest did not tally with his love of violence - to murder people to keep a vital secret is one thing but to use and archaic form of torture for no real reason seems only Catholic-bashing; however - I also found it a bit pointless about the Priest as if this secret was true and he believed it then the foundation of faith crumbles and his faith would shatter rather than him trying to just keep the secret for the sake of the religion. It doesn't make sense.

Furthermore, the notes at the end justifying the author's point of view were crucially selective and inaccurate. Everyone now accepts that Christmas was not in December but using a local pagan celebration; most people know that the modern image of Jesus is just fantasy, and he was a small Jewish man of no particular looks - as it already says in the bible; the loss of the years as he grew up are attributed to the fact that he took a parental role in his family until they were of an age to look after the mother and younger children himself - why does he need to be away travelling; lots of stories in the bible include mundane things like raising families and sheep herding.

Most importantly about Jesus' death/resurrection: As this is the foundation stone of Christianity - why would anyone follow him if he had just been partially crucified. The whole point was that the disciples were terrified of being caught themselves and hid - but suddenly something changed them and they became assertive and unafraid. What might do this? The selective texts - believing in the miracles but not the death and resurrection is a little far-fetched - the bible says clearly that he was tortured by the soldiers, so it is unsurprising that he did not last long on the cross - people even died just through the scourging; and the bible clearly says that there was proof that he was dead because the soldier speared him and his blood had already separated into water and blood, proving his death. Also because of the Sabbath the next day - the soldiers were hurrying up the deaths by breaking the legs of the victims - and the bible clearly says this was not done to Jesus as it fulfilled one of the prophesises about him from the Old Testament; so this is an important detail for Christians.

Selective belief seems strange - either you believe in the miracles of the bible - in which case rising from the dead is only one more; or you think Jesus was only a good preacher and a fraud. You can't have it both ways.

Shame it is a trendy thing to religion-bash; but if you are going to do it to sell books - then at least do it knowledgably!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 6 August 2010
This was the first book by this author that I have read. The story is a kind of archaeological detective story and moves at a brisk pace . My attention was held and the book is well written . The two heroes on the search for the secret of the title are a divorced couple , a worker for the British Museum and her ex husband ,a detective in the Kent Police . A thing that irritated me somewhat and began to grate was the big part the woman plays in the story ,although she has hardly any experience unlike the detective who is well used to investigations of the kind here . However, it is her that has all the say and she comes across as a real know-all !
There have been a lot of novels of this kind and they all follow the same course of having a go at Christianity.
That is fair enough and it sells books . However the secret revealed at the conclusion of this book made me wince as I am a Christian and if I believed this I would not be able to believe or have any faith at all.
Nevertheless I recommend the book as a good read even if the end of the book left me somewhat dispirited .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 March 2011
I read a lot, because of that maybe I'm not super picky about what I pick up, although I do know a bad book when I read it. The range of good to great is a lot more flexible. I enjoyed this book. Becker is no Shakespeare, but I wouldn't go so far as to say he's horrible, like a lot of the other reviewers do. It's a nice, fast paced, quick, mildly entertaining weekend read.

As for the "Christian" question, Becker doesn't do anything that Dan Brown and a dozen others haven't already done with his questioning of the facts surrounding the topic of Christ and Biblical accounts of history. And as the others, he doesn't question the validity of the goodness that came from the teachings of Christ, merely the mystery that surrounds his life and death. Get over it folks, religion is faith and guess work, not fact, it's in it's very nature, and kind of the point for a lot of believers.
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This is the 3rd in the series by James Becker and follows on strongly.

The characters are still likable and enjoyable and remain faithful to the way they have grown in the previous 2 books.

The amount of research that James becker puts into his amazing and helps build the story into what it is which is

A crime/mystery with a teensy hint at romance.
There is death,car chases,and the obligitary treasure which is as alsway not your standard kind of treasure (not to mention helicopters, guns, humour and religion)

I read this book cover to cover within 2 days of recieving it as I HAD to finish it. I know that its cheesey pop crime/thriller and an easy read but I love it and have just started the Nosferatu Scroll (4th in the series) in the series:)

Anyone that enjoys a Da Vinci Code esque treasure hunt but with an eaier more laid back style then this is for you.Other books in this series areThe Nosferatu ScrollThe First ApostleThe Moses Stone
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on 22 November 2013
I like some of the characters and was putting up with the gratuitous violence and psycho-assassin priest until I got to p. 193. It is interesting that an author with so many titles regarding biblical things could be so misinformed about the Bible.
on p 193 his main character, who works at the British Museum, says "The bible is inaccurate about almost everything, but especially dates and anything that resembles an historical fact".
Unless all bible scholars are lying through their teeth, even a card-carrying atheist archeologist would never say that. The scholars say that not even ONE archeological find directly disputes the Bible (and regular new finds support it).But people will read this boob's book and think "well, of course...".
I'll stick with fiction written by Christians thank you.
My mother would call Mr. Becker's fictions real "pot boilers". I would never advocate burning books, except in the worst of thermal emergencies, so I am afraid this book will just have to go to the recycle bin.
ref. [..]
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 11 July 2010
I like the thrillers that the author has published under another name and quite liked the previous book that featured Chris Bronson. This is the third and returns to some of the faults seen in the first one and indicates that the improvements in the last one have sadly not been sustained.
There are stacks of books like this about but there is not enough in this one to recommend it.

Bronson is a Police officer who can apparently take time off at a moments notice, his ex wife works for the British Museum and this novel starts off okay as she helps catalogue an Estate and finds that rumours of a hidden treasure may actually be true. Soon she and Bronson are jetting off around the world, solving clues and dodging caricature bad guys until the final big reveal. The bad guys are terrible, a priest (who is a 'trained fighter'?) who is happy to murder everyone in his path, and a company CEO spending millions in pursuit of the secret.

The author has done his research, but at times there is too much detail and explanation although perhaps the best bit of the book is at the end where the author explains his sources.

But this is just too much by the numbers with not enough characterisation to lift it above all the others that are like this. It's a real shame, because the author can write fast paced gripping thrillers, this felt like a little bit of indulgence that needed a critical friend to be brave enough to say that some bits didn't work...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Fans of the Urban Thriller will absolutely love this offering, and whilst it's perhaps Dan Brown that's the name that's most established with it, there are authors out there that bring solid offerings to the fore that will engage as well as thrill the reader.

What James Becker does is good solid fare, has great idea's and manages to back them up with a believable duo who work well together and bring strengths to each others weaknesses that make them a great couple to follow. Whilst it is a secondary excursion for this duo, it's not done in any way that you have to have read the original which makes it more pleasing to the reader. I'm really looking forward to future titles from this author as the sheer escapism is magnificent. Great stuff.
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on 28 November 2012
Good read, well paced, not gory, some good characters and a twist or two. I liked the fact that there was more than one chasing party, so tense scenes always had an extra unknown element. It was perhaps a little let down by the last scenes - the big reveal - which was bit too simple and literal and wasn't appreciated for what it was. However, the authors notes afterward were absolutely fascinating and worth a read alone. Enjoyable read.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 13 September 2010
If proof were ever needed that publishing deals are levered by who-you-know and not talent, this is the evidence.
I read this stuff to be entertained, I love Silly, I love far-fetched, I don't mind plot stretching to fill out the much-travelled ancient conspiracy, that's part of the fun. But this. Man. This is shameful. I won't even bore you with the plot, one star says it at least does its job in that department(you wouldn't be reading these reviews if it wasn't your bag I'm guessing) but it's so badly witten, so painfully presented it's rendered completely unreadable and..well just Godawful... "Bronson walked through to the kitchen and clicked the switch on the electric kettle. Coffee, he knew, would help keep him alert"... I kid you not. If you like these kinds of stories and you can't stomach any more Dan Brown then I'd suggest you try Glenn Cooper, who has the guile to not take the genre too seriously. A Waste of life. Avoid like an ancient coded plague.
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