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The Sacred Cipher by Terry Brennan

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The Advocate

The Sacred Cipher by Terry Brennan

Reviewed by Karri Compton

"The author did some amazing research and gave great detail to setting and historicity."

Little did Tom Bohannon know that his job as director of New York City’s Bowery Mission would lead him on the biggest archaeological quest of his life.

While renovating the mission’s chapel, a construction crew finds a hidden room that houses an extensive library of antiquated books and documents. Tom and his brother-in-law Joe, a knowledgeable employer of New York’s public library system, catalog everything. The most enigmatic and mind-blowing artifact they find is a small scroll with a seemingly indecipherable message.

Tom enlists the help of two other men, knowing God has called him to not only decode the cipher, but follow its message to its conclusion, no matter what. Soon they are followed by dangerous men who are determined to kill for the scroll. The colleagues eventually flee to Jerusalem, where they uncover information that will revolutionize the world.

What I liked: the themes, among which are that 1) God can use anone who obeys him and 2) big things can be accomplished with God. The interaction between the male characters was very entertaining, and I could see distinct personalities for each of them as they played off each other. The author did some amazing research and gave great detail to setting and historicity.

What I didn't like: the characters were always eating and drinking. I know this because the author explained in some detail the food and beverages nearly every time the characters got together to talk. Also, there were several instances of author intrusion where the character(s) "could not be aware of..." or "had no consciousness of.." something that was happening to them. I'm not fond of places like that in the writing. And finally, there were too many convenient coincidences, such as one of the characters suddenly remembering he had an uncle in the State Department or a millionaire friend to call on in a pinch. Those instances seemed entirely unbelievable to me.

All in all, though, I liked the premise and enjoyed the story. The attention to detail was incredible.

Karri ComptonKarri Compton, wife and mother of three teens, two cats, and a beagle, devours Christian fiction whenever possible. Her favorite genre is suspense/thriller, especially Ted Dekker and Steven James novels. Since promoting biblical worldview fiction is dear to her heart, she reviews on her blog, Fiction Fanatics Only! and is a staff reviewer for such sites as The Christian Suspense Zone and Fiction Addict. Her stab at writing a novel confirmed what a tough job it is, and so the work is shelved for now, allowing the pros to do what they do best. When she isn't reading and reviewing, Karri stays busy at church and performing in various community theater companies.