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The Moses Expedition    by Juan Gómez-Jurado order for
Moses Expedition
by Juan Gómez-Jurado
Order:  USA  Can
Atria, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Juan Gómez-Jurado, author of God's Spy, brings back Vatican Secret Agent Father Anthony Fowler and brash El Globo journalist Andrea Otero (whose life Fowler saved) for an encore in The Moses Expedition. Excellent black and white illustrations scattered throughout the novel add to the atmosphere and suspense.

Interspersed with the modern tale is the tragic back story of the Cohen family, descendants of the custodians of a sacred object. They give up their heritage (a golden candle hiding an ancient secret) in an attempt to save their elder son from the vile ministrations of Nazi physician Herr Doktor Graus. They lose their treasure and their own lives, but their younger son Yudel is saved and reaches America.

Fast forwarding to 2005, Father Anthony Fowler tracks down Graus, retrieves a copper sheet, and hands the war criminal over to summary justice. But why is Kayn Industries interested in both Fowler and Andrea Otero? Its reclusive CEO, agoraphobic Raymond Kahn, has organized a secret archaeology expedition to Jordan under the guise of phosphate mining. He and his executive assistant Jacob Russell tag along, and Kahn offers Andrea an exclusive on the dig.

At the Vatican, Fowler learns that his copper sheet is half of a treasure map to the location of the Ark of the Covenant. The chief of the Vatican secret service (the Holy Alliance) uses Andrea's participation in the project to pressure Fowler into joining the search for the 'most powerful object in history'.

The mayhem and violence begin en route to Jordan, and build steadily throughout the excavation. Project members die, at first singly and then in larger numbers, while back in the United States, an Internet research organization (Netcatch) that Kahn used is also targeted. Betrayers strike from all directions and only a simoon (a giant sandstorm) gives the good guys a chance at survival.

The Moses Expedition is a gripping read, with an apt ending. If you enjoy a fast-paced, violent thriller, rooted in history and with elements of mysticism, then you don't want to miss this one.

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