Monday, May 16, 2011

Eighth Scroll

I was given the opportunity to read Laurence B Brown’s novel The Eighth Scroll and readily dove into it. The book, filled with mystery, plot, government cover ups, religious ideas and murders is not what I typically go for when looking for a book to read. It’s the type of plot that I am most unfamiliar with so beginning this book I was certainly entering a world and storyline that was foreign to me. Immediately, the language Brown uses in this book grabbed hold of me. When reading novels, you must understand that there is a lengthy list of what will draw my interest. Subject matter, plot, character development, dialogue, description. How else can all of these topics be obtained without the use of language? Brown, an opthalmic surgeon, is skilled in describing the actions of the body. I truly found that the most fascinating, how the characters moved and their bodies reacted to physical contact, and also how he described the act of fighting.

The Eighth Scroll itself is a novel that travels through time, following the Dead Sea Scrolls and depicting how dangerous such important religious documents can be. Quickly you are brought into the Hansen family and get a detailed portrait of how the father and son team interact with one another. They go to help one of Gerald Hansen’s colleagues on an archeological find but are shocked to find the colleague mysteriously dead before their first full day at the location. Little do they realize they’ve been sucked into a world where the CIA, the Vatican, and so many others are after the Dead Sea Scrolls and willing to kill whomever they can before anyone learns of their existence.

This turns into a life long chase for the Hansens, if only they were to leave the mysterious ‘find’ from the dig alone, they would be safe, but it’s all too tempting and they’re drawn in. Years later Hansen’s son Michael decides to get to the bottom of the mystery of the scrolls. He travels through the world and meets an assortment of different characters, some nice, some not so much, and eventually obtains the scrolls for himself. Seeing what they have written suddenly makes it all clear- this is a reason why so many people have invested such security on whether or not these are found. But now it’s too late and Michael’s life (and many others) is at stake.

The Eighth Scroll is fast moving and filled with twists and turns. It hops from location to location, character to character, but all of the plots are easily interwoven and complete in a nice way. There were many moments where I wanted to know what was going to happen next and was eager to get to the next page. Mystery thrillers are not a genre that I go after. I’m very unfamiliar with their layout and generally become lost in even televisions that cater to such a topic. But I happily stuck with this story and followed it through, I understood what was going on but it was still written in a way that not everything was given away to the reader. You had to keep going to figure out what was around the next turn.

You can check out a copy of this book at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

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