The Masada Scroll by Paul Block and Robert Vaughn.
It is many years since I visited Masada, Israel and longer yet since I saw the Dead Sea Scrolls when they were exhibited in Edinburgh, Scotland. Nevertheless, The Masada Scroll was a title that appealed to me when the book was being sold in my local library. The staff have a habit of selling books that are being taken out of circulation for just a few pennies. I find the sales impossible to resist. Just what I need another book!
I am not usually attracted to books with more than one author. However, the title of this book attracted me and Paul Block is the author of sixteen novels and the former editor-in-chief of Book Creations Inc. This is a book producer specializing in historical fiction. Block is also a working journalist and photographer. He currently is executive producer of timesunion.com which is the Web site of the Times Union newspaper in Albany, New York. His photography is featured at paulblock.com. Block grew up in Glen Cove, New York, USA and attended the State University of New York at Binghamton and Empire State College. He has two grown children and lives in the Albany area in upstate New York. Robert Vaughn is also a noted writer who sold his first book when he was only 19 years old. That was 50 years, nearly 250 titles, and 20 million books ago. Writing under 35 pseudonyms, he has hit the New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists twice. He was inducted into the Writers’ Hall of Fame in 1998 and now lives in Sikeston, Missouri, USA.
The Masada Scroll revolves around the discovery of a previously unknown gospel that predates the four gospels of the New Testament. The scroll introduces a mysterious symbol that combines the Star of David, the Cross of Christianity and the Crescent and Star of Islam. None of these symbols existed at the time the Gospel was written, adding to the mystery that the protagonist, Michael Flannery, an Irish priest, must unravel.
Flannery discovers that the symbol represents the Trevia Dei, or Three Paths to God. The idea being that the heart of the message of Jesus to the world is the unity of all three of these paths that lead to God. The story continues by explaining that the true meaning of Trevia Dei has become perverted over the centuries, turning the message of unity into a single path to salvation. The story goes that this perversion is what had led to many of the problems in the modern world. Of course, to make a good mystery, there has to be those who do not want the message of this wonderful new gospel of light and love to be brought to the attention of the public in our troubled world. They have chosen to separate rather than unite God’s children. The Masada Scroll is the story of characters who struggle to bring the simple message of Jesus back into our world which is so desperate for joy.
The Masada Scroll tries to be the story of timeless quest for spiritual truth and redemption. I do not think it reaches that goal and I found parts of the story a bit complicated. Other parts of it were quite incredible. The story also jumps from the early period of Christianity to the modern day. that irritated me.
I suppose it might be said that the book falls into the same genre as the DaVinci Code by Dan Brown. There is some action in this thriller. However, this novel had a more spiritual and supernatural theme than I expected. I also enjoyed the details of the history of Masada itself. Another aspect of The Masada Scroll that really worked for me was the captivating account of Christianity in its infancy and the perils of the first Christians during Roman rule. Although the book was formulaic, it was a quick and entertaining read with engaging characters and an exciting plot.
- Posted in: Book Reviews
- Tagged: Dan Brown, DaVinci Code, Dead Sea Scrolls, Israel, Jesus, Masada, Paul Block, Robert Vaughn, The Masada Scroll, Trevia Dei, Valerie Penny
Valerie: I enjoyed your review of my and Robert Vaughan’s novel. He and I hatched the idea a full 2 years before Da Vinci Code was published, while running a writers’ retreat in Alabama. We sent a long synopsis and sample chapters to a number of publishers we’d worked with before, and it was rejected by all, generally with an explanation that it was too Christian for non-Christians and too heretical for Christians. Two years later Da Vinci Code came out, and a year after that one of the rejecting publishers (Tor) asked if we’d ever sold Masada, since that bestseller showed there was an audience. We hadn’t even written more than the first couple of chapters. We signed a contract and ended up writing 2 books (the sequel is Armor of God, set in the present day and during the Crusades). Masada has been published in France, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Greece and Macedonia. I thought you’d enjoy a little background. Thanks again for taking the time and effort to read and review our book.
Thank you so much for that background, Paul. I am going off to look for the “Armor of God”, now!