Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I like a smattering of creative history thrown into a thriller, especially if the thriller is a little weak in the suspense department.  In this case, the author proposes that Christopher Columbus was a Jew looking to establish a colony for those seeking to escape the Spanish Inquisition.  The premise of this novel is that he and/or his Hebrew translator brought some valuable Jewish artifacts into Jamaica, thinking that the New World was actually Asia, a part of the world known to give asylum to Jews.  Our protagonist is Tom Sagan, a discredited journalist who has nothing to live for, until he witnesses a video feed in which his estranged daughter Alle has been taken hostage.  We quickly learn that the video is a hoax in which Alle has played an active role, at the bequest of Zacharias Simon, who wants Alle's grandfather exhumed.  Tom discovers an envelope that has been buried with his father, which contains a letter and a key.  Thus Tom becomes involved in a dangerous treasure hunt that takes place in Vienna, Prague, Cuba, and finally Jamaica.  Simon is interested in more than just the artifacts; he is sort of a terrorist with a more far-reaching agenda that involves Israel.  I didn't understand his motive or his plan, but that didn't really matter.  Tom plays the Indiana Jones character, and Simon is his nemesis.  Somewhere in-between is Bene Rowe, a wealthy Jamaican, whose loyalties were still unknown to me at the end of the book, but I think he is sort of a good bad guy—someone who doesn't blink at eliminating his opposition.  If your standards are low for this sort of novel, maybe you won't be too disappointed.  I just wish that I could have been kinder to a local (St. Augustine) author.

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