The Sacred Blood by Michael Byrnes

sacredReviewed by Stephanie Nordkap

A group of archaeologists digging in the Judaen desert discover a secret room inside a cave, a room covered in Egyptian hieroglyphs and other symbols, including a curious one of a dolphin wrapped around a trident. Also in the cave is an old clay jar containing ancient scrolls. Amit Mizrachi, the leader of the dig and a noted archaeologist, brings in noted Egyptologist Julie LeRoux to help interpret the Egyptian symbols for him and gives the scrolls to Jozsef Dayan, a famous transcriptor and interpreter of ancient texts. When Amit and Julie are almost killed one night in the Qumran caves and barely escape unscathed, they know they are onto something big.

Meanwhile, in Ireland, Patrick Donovan is on leave from the Vatican and the events that transpired in The Sacred Bones. Involved in the theft of the sacred bones from the ossuary that he returned to Israel, he alone knows where he has hidden them. He is also one of the few people who know that the ossuary contained the bones of Jesus Christ, a discovery the Vatican tried very hard to hide from the world. But somebody wants the bones and Patrick is traced to Ireland where he is almost abducted. He makes his escape and heads to the United States to warn American Charlotte Hennessey that she is in danger. Previously dying from cancer, Charlotte had injected herself with the DNA of the bones found in the ossuary, and is now completely cured. The DNA has the ability to completely regenerate, to repair damaged genes, and to heal the sick. And now somebody also wants Charlotte.

Rabbi Aaron Cohen, keeper of the Ark of the Covenant, and a descendent of Aaron, holds in trust a prophecy of a time when the Third Temple will rise again. He is now ready to return the Ark from its hiding place and unleash its power onto the world. The only problem is that Charlotte is the only person who can touch the Ark, as her blood now contains Jesus’ genes, and he needs her to fulfill his prophecy.

The Muslims, in the meantime, are growing suspicious of Aaron’s actions below the Temple, and take steps to discover what is going on. As Amit and Julie race against the clock to save Charlotte, the situation becomes more desperate as the deadly battle between the Jewish, Catholic, and other factions could tear the Holy Land apart.

I found this book to be a compelling read. Despite the fact that this is the second book of what I hope is a trilogy, and I did not read the first book, I had no problems understanding the plot and events. I found it to be a fast-paced thriller that hooked me right from the beginning and kept me interested throughout the book. Amit and Julie were fun to read as they spent most of their time dodging bullets, digging into history texts, and evading their followers in a frantic race to find Charlotte. I found this novel engrossing and it definitely made me think about how theology and genetics fit together and what the implications would be if an ossuary holding Jesus’ bones was found. I can’t wait for his next novel.

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