Select one of the keywords
The Last Testament    by Sam Bourne order for
Last Testament
by Sam Bourne
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, e-Book

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Deb Kincaid

Sam Bourne's latest thriller, The Last Testament, opens with riotous looting of The National Museum of Antiquities in Baghdad, Iraq. Priceless artifacts subsequently find their way into other hands. Professor Shimon Guttman, scholar, archeologist, and Zionist, one day purchases an exquisitely valuable clay tablet. It is part of the last will and testament of Abraham. This tablet tells who Abraham bequeathed Jerusalem to, Isaac (Jews) or Ishmael (Arabs).

Recognizing its importance (and the danger of possessing it) - especially in the midst of ongoing peace talks - Guttman hides the tablet, and is subsequently shot when trying to approach the Prime Minister with the information. A cryptic note is found clutched in the dead man's hand. As killings and accusations on both Israeli and Palestinian sides escalate, American negotiator Maggie Costello has been brought in by the State Department to locate the tablet before other ruthless factions do, and to salvage a rapidly deteriorating peace agreement mediation between Israel and Palestine.

The Last Testament pulses with realism. The pacing is quick, with heart-pounding suspense. Well told and intriguing, the story also weaves an interesting subplot centering on protagonist Costello's attempt to regain her credibility as a top-notch political negotiator, after a debacle a year earlier in Congo.

I do have a couple of complaints. First, the early relationship between Edward and Maggie is so superficial that it could have been left out altogether. My greater complaint, however, is with the denouement. It's heavy on deus ex machina. It's strongly implausible that a high government official is going to openly avow his crimes, even if he didn't know a camera was rolling. And, really, a camera? Uploaded to YouTube? It just all worked out too nicely. The story deserved a better ending. Still, I enjoyed The Last Testament and am looking forward to Bourne's next thriller.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews