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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 11 April 2008
This is the second novel in the series by Paul Sussman featuring Detective Inspector Khalifa - the first being 'The Lost Army of Cambyses'. I purchased the two books together and I'm glad I did or else I would have missed out on this great gem! I really didn't enjoy the first book all that much finding the majority of characters so dull I couldn't bring myself to care when their lives were hanging in the balance. The one character that was interesting however was Khalifa who appears again in the second book as the Detective with a moral conscience. It is not necessary to read the books in chronological order as there are only a few passing references to the first book and The Last Secret of the Temple is by far the more superior of the two.

I won't go into what the book is actually about in this review as I think there is enough said about the story in the synopsis and in some of the reviews here but what I will say is that I've not read a book of this type that was this good since I read the Dan Brown's books a few years back. It is very easy to get into and the story does keep you hooked until the end. The book looks at religious conflict, racial prejudices and hatred, morality and power and it deals with these themes effectively without becoming too political or too sentimental. I can't wait for Paul Sussman's next novel and this one is definitely highly recommended!
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on 13 January 2008
All in all this was a good novel. It was pacey, if it took a while to get going. Also it was very contemporary, being set in the Arab-Israeli conflict, with the backdrop of history: the fall of Jerusalem in AD70, medieval Crusades, Nazi death camps and the Nazi hierarchy's interest in esoterica.

The characterisation was OK, better than in some novels of this genre. At least they are given backgrounds and are not two-dimensional. The protagonist Khalifa was well depicted and a likeable, good guy. However, as the protagonist, I was surprised that he does not play more of a part in the story. Other characters such as Har-Zion, Layla and Ben-Roi play an equally important role. His Israeli colleague, Ben-Roi, I did not like and was someone who I just wanted to shake out of his slumber and depression. As mentioned in another review, Sussman adds a twist at the end concerning the female protagonist. I won't say what it is but, given what she had been through, it was unlikely and clumsily done.

The actual "secret" is rather obvious, from the opening chapters I could tell what is was. Nevertheless, its journey to its present location is recounted well and was a good sub-plot to the modern-day Middle East.

I felt that the novel was a tad too long at 694 pages. I think some of it should have been edited out and the novel could have been written in 500 pages. I also found the constant reference to smoking annoying. Every other character seemed to smoke! Another negative was the over use of expletives. I'm no prude and recognise that such things can add to a character's personality, but I think Sussman could have cut back on that a bit. The author also makes liberal use of native sayings, be it in Arabic, Hebrew etc. This could have been a problem for the reader but a glossary of terms can be found at the back of the novel. The glossary also includes information on terms, places and historical characters mentioned in the text, which adds to the accessibility of the novel.

All in all I enjoyed the book and would read other works by Sussman. Recommended.
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on 13 June 2018
A good set up and a good middle section. The details were convincing. However the ending was very disappointing and the character of Layla was disappointingly revealed. Without giving any spoilers the revelation about Layla's father was completely unconvincing and this put me off the rest of the book. If you read it, you will know what I mean.
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on 15 March 2013
Paul Sussman had a great talent for story telling. He also researched meticulously and called on what was obviously a width breadth of knowledge. His use of English was exemplary and he structured this book perfectly, despite its complex plot. The relationship between the two detectives, from such disparate backgrounds, added a stimulating dimension. The subject of the conflict between the two cultures of Islam and Judaism was sharply depicted without sentimentality or bitterness and served well to inform the reader. The plot was at once contemporary but intriguing. A vastly entertaining story - Paul Sussman's death is a great loss.
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on 15 December 2016
This Book is in perfect condition. Only one page bent which could have happened in assembly. I am Looking to complete this author's books all in hardback and as close to New as Possible. I have bought 2 from Amazon so far from private sellers and both have been in excellent condition. Thank you,
wild
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on 23 August 2012
What can I say, i really enjoyed the first book "The Lost Army..." and purchased this almost imediately and was not disappointed this book looks at religious conflict, racial prejudices and hatred, morality and power and it deals with these subjects really well without becoming too political or too sentimental. It is well researched and written, I am really looking forward to the next one and the one after that unfortunately that will be all we will be getting, I only recently found out that Paul had suddenly passed away he will be greatly missed as a great author and also by his family who my thoughts and prayers go out to.
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on 8 November 2012
This was the second book in the series of three featuring Israeli detective Ben Roi and Egyptian detective Khalifa. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, particularly as I love all things Egyptian. The narrative is excellent and as Yusuf Khalifa walked around Luxor and its temples I could imagine the scene easily, having visited myself. This story, as with the first is also set in Jerusalem and other places, which are well described too. I am now on the last book in the series and will be sorry to leave these two allies who are on opposite sides because of their religions. A good thriller which would make a great film! Hopefully there will be more to come in the future?
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on 20 June 2016
This is the third of Paul Sussman's books that I've read and I'm struggling with this one. It takes over half the book to introduce the numerous characters, most with names that are hard to remember. The story flits annoyingly between characters and places. According to my Kindle, I am currently 56% of the way through and have decided to slog on, rather that write off the hours of my life that have already been spent trying to absorb this lengthy tale. I hope that by the time I discover the last secret of the temple, I will still care and find that the journey has been worthwhile.
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on 13 March 2010
This was a really enjoyable book. It took a while to get into and for quite a while I wasn't sure how all the different characters and plot lines would link up. But in the end they did in a totally believable way. A complex book that addresses issues of prejudice and religious toleration and gives insights into the difficulties faced in the Middle East. But the book is also a cracking good read - good interesting characters that you might want to meet, a plot line that was not too fantastic. Well worth buying.
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on 20 November 2013
It was OK but it lacked good action links. Characters were half believable but the plot gave a mixed up impression of where their loyalties existed - originally thought to be a ploy but turned out to be just mixed up description of loyalties. The baddy was pure pantomime villain. Would I read another by this author - probably, if I was abroad, with nothing else to do.
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