Israel as a whole was an archaeological mother lode, but the area around Jerusalem was particularly rich, and particularly complex. Home to some of the holiest sites in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, it was rich with history and rife with conflict. -From The Secret Scroll, page 31-
Josh Cohan, an American archaeologist on sabbatical in Israel discovers a centuries old scroll possibly authored by Jesus. After reporting his find to the Israeli Antiquities Authority, a number of strange happenings occur which soon indicate Josh’s life and the lives of those around him are in peril. Josh joins a team of archaeologists in translating the ancient scroll before it can be stolen by a fanatical religious sect called The Guardians. Along the way, Josh uncovers a special healing gift within himself as well as romance.
The Secret Scroll is author Ronald Cutler’s first novel. Set amid the history of Israel and full of historical references to Christianity and the Palestinian conflict, it is evident that Cutler did his research. The story idea is an intriguing one: the discovery of a relic which could change the way the world views Christianity.
Despite these strengths, the novel stumbles on several levels including cliche characters, too much telling rather than showing the action, lack of tension and a disappointing predictability. The Secret Scroll is a religious suspense-thriller which lacks the suspense. Josh and his love interest, the beautiful Danielle, fail to engage the reader on much more than a superficial level; and there is almost no development of their relationship, so that when the inevitable love scene occurs, it misses its mark.
Ronald Cutler was an award winning radio personality for much of his career before penning The Secret Scroll (released in early February 2008 through Beaufort Books). He has a website dedicated to the novel which includes author background, as well as additional information about the book.
I am appreciative to the publisher for sending me a copy of The Secret Scroll for review. Unfortunately, it is not a book I can recommend. Rated 2/5.