Judas the Apostle by Van R. Mayhall Jr.

This is a good solid four star read. Much like The DaVinci Code and other books of that ilk, its basic premise is “what was Judas Iscariot’s role in betraying or aiding Jesus?” A professor of ancient languages inherits a jar which contains an ancient and obscure manuscript brought back from Tunisia by her father at the end of World War II.

Her father is murdered for the jar and so begins the cat and mouse game for its acquisition. There are many players but the main ones are the professor, her son just returned from military duty in Iraq, a monsignor from the Vatican backed by members of the Swiss Guard and staff at Louisiana State University who use amazing technology to open the jar and ensure the integrity of the contents.

What I really liked about this book was that the professor, Cloe LeJeune, uses her mind and the knowledge she has in her field of study to start unraveling the mystery of what the manuscript is and what it means. Unlike Dan Brown’s hero, Cloe does not have a complex set of phobias that must be overcome nor is she the ultimate authority of every subject in which she comes in contact.

The monsignor is there to provide the reader with religious background information, her son and the Swiss Guard provide the tactical action and military expertise and Cloe provides the history and knowledge of the ancient world. She is also not prone to miraculous feats of escapism. She uses what any intelligent woman would use to get out of situations: her intellect and the ability to match wits with the foe, known as the Kolektor – which had just enough of a James Bond factor to keep me happy.

The book moves along at a great pace – even with the heavy lifting at LSU as they study the jar and its contents, there is enough action to keep everyone on their toes. Some have noted that the book is “wordy”. I found it to be intelligently written instead of purely action driven. Another amazing BookBub find. This is one that will hold the interests of all kinds of readers from the first page to the last. Why not five stars?

Well, the end frankly. The big resolve is not there. It is open ended. Not for another book but for readers to ponder upon the information provided and think about all the “what if” scenarios that were presented along the way. If that is enough to satisfy your soul, then it’s a five star read. I just wanted an ending to a great book.

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