Thursday, July 7, 2016

Book Review: The Jerusalem Creed

I must admit – anytime that Jerusalem appears in the name of a book it is bound to attract my attention. This was the case when I saw an ad for a thriller set in the Holy City and as the book was being offered for free on Kindle, I quickly downloaded it.

The Jerusalem Creed (Enclave, July, 2015) by Ernest Dempsey is the seventh book in the Sean Wyatt adventure thriller series. Wyatt, a trained killer in his former life, now works for a friend's artifact recovery agency. When Wyatt and his buddy Tommy are attacked in their homes, they realize that they have been targeted by an unknown madman who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. But first, they must figure out exactly what that madman wants.

The book opens in Biblical Jerusalem, where some very important religious relics are to be spirited out of the ancient city ahead of the Babylonian invasion. Two disciples of the high priest are instructed to take these items to the far reaches of the empire, and even beyond, to save them from falling into Nebuchadnezzar’s hands.

“If the stones in that bag are ever reunited with the breastplate by the forces of evil, all will be lost,” the priest says, referring to the sacred Hoshen breastplate and the Urim and Thummim stones.

Obviously, the relics must be recovered and the madman stopped, so that’s where Wyatt comes into the picture. Wyatt and his team first travel to Israel to meet with a student of ancient history who had been working in the field of archaeology for several decades. The archaeologist has discovered a stone tablet unlike anything previously seen. Tommy is asked to help decipher the symbols at the bottom of the tablet.

The Israel described in the book is a bit superficial, with tourists coming on Holy Land tours “to see the Via Dolorosa, the supposed site of Golgotha, the Mount of Olives, the great mosques, and many other sacred locations.” Apparently Israel is not known for its Jewish sites. Tel Aviv, however, “had become one of the world’s trendy places to visit” and its beaches “seemed to attract the most beautiful people, anxious to bathe in the constant warmth of the Israeli sun.”

Israel is not the only setting in this page-turning story. The protagonists must travel to Indonesia, Bhutan, and Iran in pursuit of the relics and the madman’s lackeys who stole them. Many of the incidents they encounter are quite far-fetched. For example, a Buddhist priest readily hands over a relic that has been in the possession of his monastery for thousands of years.

The Jerusalem Creed is a quick, escapist adventure best suited for a plane ride or an afternoon at the beach. It is not to be taken too seriously. Even in the midst of their adventures, Wyatt and Tommy continue to joke about their partnership.

“We need to get out of here,” Wyatt says. “In case you forgot, there are men, probably armed, trying to kill us.”

We know that Wyatt and Tommy will survive. After all, there are already eight books in the series and probably more on the way.

Ernest Dempsey lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He's always loved adventure stories and his early inspiration came from the Indiana Jones movies. He worked as a high school guidance counselor for twelve years until quitting to pursue writing novels full time.

Buy The Jerusalem Creed and read it now!

Originally published on The Times of Israel.

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