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I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

"The thirteenth apostle" by Michel Benoit

A novel based on M Benoit’s research carried out whilst he was a monk.

Father Andrei has discovered something about the Bible which is a secret many of the RC hierarchy would kill to keep a secret ... and he is thrown from the window of a train. Father Nil, his best mate at the monastery, attempts to follow in his footsteps, reconstructing his research from a cryptic note he found clutched in his friend’s dead hand (which the French scene of crime officers had somehow overlooked). With the mysterious Society of St Pius V, a gang of 12 high placed clerics who have been prepared to murder for the church and a blond, scarred Mossad agent who also happens to be a concert pianist and the best operative of the secret service of Moslem Hamas not to mention an ex-Nazi cardinal all trying to prevent Father Nils from uncovering the secret (though mostly prepared to let him find it provided he dies immediately afterwards) this is one of the less credible imitators of the Da Vinci Code.

As if worried that the thrills of modern day conspiracy ridden Rome will be insufficient the author intersperses his narrative with the power struggle following the death of Jesus (apparently Peter disembowelled Judas) and some of the shenanigans of the Knights Templar.

An enjoyable easy to read thriller but the blurb on the back compares it with The Name of the Rose which is so much better. 

On the other hand, the author's research is clearly interesting. It is probably fair to say that at this distance and given the evidence we have at present there is no possibility of knowing more about the beloved disciple. This lack of evidence and necessary inconclusiveness might leave other people frustrated, hence the need to novelise the story. But for me I think I would have preferred the mystery.

The most interesting thing I learnt was that, according to the author, there is no evidence that Nazareth as a place existed in the time of Jesus and that all translations of Jesus of Nazareth should probably be read as Jesus the Nasorean referring to sect of Judaism linked to the Essenes.

January 2018; 354 pages

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