Title: The Sacred Bones
Author: Michael Byrnes
Category: Thriller, Historical Fiction
Publisher: March 1st 2007 by HarperCollins
The sacred Bones by Michael Byrnes is a fast read and a page turner. Historical bites interspersedwith a gripping tale. Byrnes delivers a compelling fiction which makes us rethink about what religion actually means.
At Israel, Jerusalem – A planned robbery takes place right under the nose of Israel Defence Force (IDF) and Jerusalem Islamic Waqf. The robbery included usage of explosives at the sacred Temple mount and thirteen IDF men are also killed. Soon enough Israelis, Muslims and the Palestinians are blaming one another for the sacrilege of the holy place and tensions begin to simmer at all places.
With the media wildly speculating on the incident, both parties has nary a clue about what was stolen or who did it. They mutually consent to employ Graham Barton, head curator of antiquities for the Museum of London, to get an idea of what might have been stolen from the Temple Mount premises. Barton tries to find clues in a first century ancient Jewish crypt, on why would they steal a ossuary which would fetch only seven thousand pounds in the black market.
At Vatican – American geneticist, Charlotte Hennesey and Italian anthropologist Giovanni Bersei, both expert at their fields, are called upon secretly for a project – To analyse an archaeological artifact which contains bones bearing evidence to crucifixion of the man. This was a historical landmark finding since there had not been any physical evidence to crucifixion since the victims are denied proper burial and left to decay on the stakes. Who was this man provided with a proper burial although crucified by the Romans? What Charlotte and Giovanni finds from the ossuary startles them as it would change the facts of history as it is known now.
Those who had read ‘The Da Vinci Code’ would find this book completely engrossing. History, science and action set in the conflicted land of Israel as an excellent backdrop and the author uses it well. The two story lines, Vatican and Jerusalem, keeps the pace with each other in moving the story forward and providing essential historical background. There isn’t a definitive ending and the DNA analysis sets up the arena for the sequel to this book, Sacred Blood.
This fast paced book fails to deliver one thing – intrigue. Readers can easily guess what the protagonists are going to find from their historical and scientific analysis and we know from start who the bad guy is. Yet, I’m oddly looking forward to read the sequel soon.