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Bethany House Serpent of Moses

King Hezekiah called the serpent Nehushtan. Long thought destroyed, it's been buried for millennia, secreted under the region's shifting sands.

Now the Israeli government wants it back and they will stop at nothing to get their hands on it. Yet they're not the only ones who covet the Nehushtan.

Archaeologist Jack Hawthorne travels to Libya intent on recovering the sacred object, but one does not cross the Mossad and expect to walk away without a fight. Jack and his friends must find the priceless "snake of brass upon a pole" before those who are also hunting it find them... and silence them forever.

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Customer Reviews for Serpent of Moses
Review 1 for Serpent of Moses
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Better than the first installment.

Date:September 30, 2012
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Jessica
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Three years after he and Espy almost lost their lives trying to find the bones of the prophet Elisha, Dr. Jack Hawthorne finds himself in another dangerous situation. He's gone off to find the Nehushtan: the brass serpent built by Moses to heal the Israelites of snakebites. What he finds is that he's not the only one looking for it. Agencies of certain governments are after this priceless artifact, and will not rest until they have it. Jack also has to deal with Martin Templeton, an Englishman who seems to have some personal interest in keeping an eye on Jack, with or without the staff.
This second Jack Hawthorne adventure was much improved over the first, Elisha's Bones. This one is not told in present tense, which won points right away. It also wasn't told in first person, which means we got to see into the thoughts of characters other than Jack Hawthorne, including the villains. In general, this one was just more enjoyable. Well-written characters, as before, and a well-woven plot made for a great story.
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Review 2 for Serpent of Moses
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Gripping adventure, but no Indiana Jones.

Date:September 14, 2012
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Anonymous
Location:Coffeyville, KS
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
In a quest to find the legendary brass snake that Moses set on a pole – the same snake that the Israelites could look up on in order to get healed from snake bites. Serpent of Moses assumes that the relic was not destroyed by Moses, making it one of the most profitable finds in the archaeology world. Esperanza, his long time girlfriend, ever waiting for Hawthorne to get serious, Romero, Esperanza’s brother and art dealer, and Jim Duckett, an ex-CIA agent and former colleague, will team up when Hawthorne has not shown up to an important business meeting after a few weeks. He is not the most punctual person in the world, but even he knows the limits regarding a crucial art deal. The truth is, Hawthorne has found the location of the once thought lost relic, but he is not alone in his search and is taken prisoner. Esperanza, Romero and Duckett will start a search of their own with the hope of finding Hawthorne alive; none of them could have ever imagined that they would be risking their lives.
Yes, this book is full of suspense, and as I mentioned in my previous reviews of Hoesel’s books, it should come with popcorn. He is certainly skilled at building up suspense and twisting the story right at the point where everything seemed solved. This makes it a gripping, interesting read, hard to put down. As usual, the ending comes a bit too fast, but it also leaves the reader with a curiosity to see what will happen next in the character’s lives. This adds to the positive aspects of this book, but I do have to say that there were moments where I felt I was reading a copy of other successes – namely Indiana Jones and Dan Brown’s books. Both of these have been successful, which I guess would be a plus for Mr. Hoesel, but there is really nothing new under the sun. During the story, the team needs the assistance of people with whom Hawthorne has worked before, but it is not initially clear whether they like or dislike him; I could even picture Hawthorne with Harrison Ford’s look of uncertainty more than once, or even Robert Langdon’s excitement when deciphering clues when Esperanza and Romero try to find the secret location of the serpent. Do not let this deter you from reading this book; if you are looking for clean entertainment during a rainy day, this would be a good choice. As I mentioned before, Hoesel is a skilled writer, but I would have preferred to not be reminded of other stories and get involved in this one on its own.
Also, there are numerous references to Hawthorne’s previous adventure in Australia; I presume that would be “Elisha’s Bones,” which I have not read (and which I do not feel like reading after this book). At times, it was a bit distracting, because Hawthorne’s reputation is relevant in the outcome of this plot. The dots are connected in the last part of the book, so if you share my situation and are not familiar with Hawthorne’s past, just wait to get to the final chapters. It comes together, and Hoesel, once more, uses his resources wisely and manages to keep the reader on their toes to the last minute, right to the lousy ending. I personally have the sensation that this book could be much, much better, but it lacks authenticity, and the way the end is presented is a bad aftertaste that dilutes all the suspense.
Regarding Christian principles, God is mentioned here and there, but none of the characters actually practice a Christian life, a constant in Hoesel’s books. However, language is clean, making this book a good read for teenagers.
In short, Serpent of Moses is an archaeology adventure in search of a relic precious to different peoples who will not stop at anything to have it – just that.
Bethany Publishers provided a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. The opinion and thoughts in this review are my own and have not been biased by the latter.
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Review 3 for Serpent of Moses
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Mildly recommended

Date:September 8, 2012
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Christianfictionaddiction
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Let me start by saying that Don Hoesel's previous novels have won high recommendations from me for their non-stop action, excellent plots, and Hoesel's strong command of the English language. I therefore approached "Serpent of Moses" with expectations that this book would live up to his previous works. In many ways it did, because the story features plenty of high-octane action scenes and interesting locales. However, for some reason I found much of the story to be somewhat plodding, and I finished the book not even quite clear on whether I liked Jack as a character. He definitely experiences growth during the story, coming to realize that his relationship with his partner is more important than the latest archaeological find or large financial reward. But his whole reason for going after the object in the first place is utterly without merit, and because of this the book lacked the sense of justice and rightness that would make me normally side with the main character and their mission. Jack simply didn't deserve to win anymore than anyone else in the story did. And despite the coolness factor of the artifact, its importance to Israel itself isn't fleshed out that strongly in my opinion.
The result is that I can only give this book a mild recommendation to readers who typically enjoy stories of action and suspense, and a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
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Review 4 for Serpent of Moses
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A Fun Read for the Most Part

Date:September 3, 2012
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Bethyhope96
Location:Virginia
Age:Under 18
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Hello! I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
This book was, for the most part, a fast paced read with interesting characters and a variety of locations. I enjoyed it, though at some parts it seemed a bit *too* fast paced, and in others too slow paced. I also found out after receiving the book that it's a sequel to a book I haven't read. The Bible does say that the serpent was destroyed, though the author tries to explain that, I still believe it was destroyed completely. Also, though Christianity was mentioned now and again, I wish the book contained more. The characters said they believed in God, etc... but a lot of them practiced non-Christian acts. There is no profanity involved.
The history found in the book was very interesting, though sometimes it seemed that they were telling you everything that was happening. I couldn't really get into the book at first, but the more I read, the more I was able to enjoy it. Some of the sarcasm inscribed made me smile, and now I find myself wanting to read the prequel. I loved Duckey, (a character you will meet) especially when he was evading the bad guys.
Overall, this was an exciting, fun read. It had a definite Indiana Jones touch to it, and lovers of those movies and other media like them will find this a worthy read. Also recommended to adventurers, aspiring archeologists, and any other teen-adult that needs something to read. **** Four stars.
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Review 5 for Serpent of Moses
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Predictable Plot but Exciting Read

Date:August 29, 2012
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katiespen
Location:Greer, SC
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This book reminded me a lot of the National Treasure movies. The plot line was fairly predictable - although I sometimes like a "light" read. I have never read Hoesel before, but I was a bit disappointed that he didn't delve into more spiritual matters - especially when dealing with a biblical artifact. I will say that I felt that I could "see" his characters, but the people I saw were mirror images of Hollywood actors and actresses who typically play those roles.
There didn't seem to be much intent on the author's part to really point the reader to Scripture in this book. Even Jack's attitude about things didn't really seem to stem from a heart that was following after godly things. I feel like the author missed an opportunity here to really lead people to research this information for themselves. His book merely skimmed over the important parts.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, but I will probably not seek out any other works by this author.
I received this book from Bethany House Publishers for my unbiased review.
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Review 6 for Serpent of Moses
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Jack is back!

Date:August 29, 2012
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Shaun Tabatt
Location:Cottage Grove, MN
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Jack is back! No, not Jack Bauer. Jack Hawthorne. You know Jack Hawthorne, former Evanston University professor and archaeologist for hire who first came on the scene in Elisha's Bones (Bethany House, 2009). The last time we saw Jack, he and the lovely Esperanza were secretly reinterring the bones of the prophet Elisha, surely glad to be rid of them after the deadly ordeal that ensued during the search for them.
Fast forward several years and Jack is still wearing the hat of the itinerant archaeologist. His latest assignment has put him on the trail of another biblical artifact. This time it's not bones he's after, but a serpent. More specifically the Nehushtan, the bronze serpent on a pole that Moses had made in the wilderness as recorded in Numbers 21:4-9. 2 Kings 18:4 records that King Hezekiah had the Nehushtan destroyed because the Israelites were burning incense to it. What if it wasn't completely destroyed, but was merely broken or dismantled? Could it be found today?
While many would call this quest a fools errand, there are those who think the Nehushtan can be found. Jack is working in the employ of Milo Sturdivant, museum director for Apsley House in London. Unbeknownst to Jack, there is a second team on the trail of the Nehushtan. This second team is working in the employ of the Israeli government and they've been tasked with doing "whatever it takes" to acquire it.
The story unfolds as Jack and the second team led by archaeologist Martin Templeton are competing to find and then struggling with each other for possession of the Nehushtan. When things don't go as planned on either side, the Isreali government deploys Mossad agents to forcefully retrieve the sacred relic. Throw in the well-meaning Esperanza (Jack's girlfriend), Jim "Duckey" Duckett (Jack's former colleague at Evanston University and retired CIA agent), Romero (Esperanza's brother, antiquities dealer) and agents from the Libyan intelligence community and you have one heck of an adventure on your hands.
Serpent of Moses is the third novel I've read by Don Hoesel. True to the style exhibited in his previous books, Hoesel once again weaves a broad web of intrigue that moves along at a rapid pace. Overall, I enjoyed the story very much, but was left wanting a bit more closure in three areas. First, I would have liked a bit more insight into what has transpired in Jack and Esperanza's relationship since the closing of Elisha's Bones. Second, I was left wondering why the Israeli government was interested in the Nehushtan. Was it because they felt it had some secret power or were they hoping to preserve it as an important symbol of their national identity and history? Third, what was the special power of the Nehustan? Since Elisha's Bones had the ability to heal, I expected something similar from the Nehushtan. Towards the end of the story, we see its power briefly on display. It seemed to suggest that the person holding it was healed from a fatal wound, but it wasn't really clear. Had these gaps I perceived in the story been filled, I would have given the book five stars as I did to Elisha's Bones. In all honesty, I felt rather frustrated at the close of the story, so my overall rating for Serpent of Moses is 4 stars.
About the Author: Don Hoesel is a Web site designer for a Medicare carrier in Nashville, TN. He has a BA in Mass Communication from Taylor University and has published short fiction in Relief Journal. He lives in Spring Hill, Tennessee, with his wife and two children.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher for review. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
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Review 7 for Serpent of Moses
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Not particularly original, but a good read anyway.

Date:August 20, 2012
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MaryRuth
Location:Midwest
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
For quite some time during my teen years, I seriously considered becoming a biblical archaeologist. So needless to say, I love a good archaeology novel.
Serpent of Moses was certainly not the best book from that genre that I have read. It sort of gave me the feeling of being dropped into the middle of a story that was already underway, but I was able to put the pieces together and follow the flow fairly easily.
And, I have to say, the setup was rather cliche and predictable - happy-go-lucky and slightly irresponsible archaeologist; exotic, gorgeous, brilliant girlfriend whose field of expertise happens to be very beneficial; old friends all over the world who just happen to have skills and positions to be of tremendous (and convenient) help; a particularly close old friend who happens to be former CIA and has a few favors he can call in; and a creepy European bad guy who's insane. None of that is particularly original and anyone who's read a few archaeology novels (or seen Indiana Jones) has seen that kind of setup before.
I wasn't sure about some of the implications of events in the story, as far as biblical accuracy is concerned (I can't really explain what I'm referring to without giving something away). The matter can really be considered open to speculation, since the Bible doesn't actually give specifics in this case, but I don't know that I would agree with the direction the author's speculations took.
All that being said, if you like archaeology novels (or Indiana Jones) and don't mind a few cliches (the genre is what it is, after all) I think you'll enjoy this book. I think I might have enjoyed it more had I been familiar already with the central cast of characters, present in other works by Hoesel, but this was my first time reading his work. And while, like I said, this wasn't the best book I've read in the genre, it has definitely aroused my interest, and I fully intent to investigate this author's work further.
I received a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for my review.
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Review 8 for Serpent of Moses
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Adventure From Page 1

Date:August 13, 2012
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Dalyn
Location:Yakima, Wa
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Did you like the Indiana Jones movies? Ya? Well then you'll like this book. It was a well-written, action packed read right from the first page. It took me into the world of archeology, Bible lands, dangerous places and people. I really enjoyed my vicarious travels to foreign lands, across miles of deserts and through tiny villages and seedy hotels.
The characters were great and Jack was so interesting I thought I'd like to have a long visit over coffee...somplace in Northern Africa of course.
Good book, I think you'll like it if you like adventure.
Click on the book for a link to buy this book.
*I was given a free copy by Bethany House in exchange for an unbiased review.
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Review 9 for Serpent of Moses
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Like an adventure film, but in print

Date:August 10, 2012
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An Old Fashioned Girl
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
In the book of Numbers, as the Israelites were wandering in wilderness after rejecting the promised land, they became discouraged and spoke against God, and in response to their hardheartedness, God plagued them with fiery serpents. When the people recognized their sin and asked Moses to pray for them, God responded with a cure: Moses was to commission a fiery serpent, made of bronze, and lift it high on a pole--then any who looked to the serpent would be cured. Later, in the time of the kings, people worshiped the bronze serpent, called Nehushtan, and King Hezekiah ordered its destruction.
However, according to Don Hoesel, it may not have been as thoroughly "broken into pieces" as the bible implies.
Don Hoesel's timing in his novel, Serpent of Moses, is superb, reading like an adventure movie. The reader is instantly dropped into the action - almost like a prologue, the Libyans first encounter mysterious Israelis and an archaeologist in the initial, unsuccessful attempt to recover the bronze serpent, but the suspicious foreigners are killed before the Libyans can interrogate them and discover their interest in the area. [Were it a film, insert credits here]. The next scene, occurring two weeks later, introduces our hero, archaeologist Jack Hawthorne, dodging bullets in a narrow tunnel, running for his life.
Interspersed between Jack's close calls, captures, and escapes while trying to hang on to the archaeological artifact are the journeys of his friends who are trying to locate him and extract him from whatever trouble into which he has dropped himself. As they solve the clues that brought him to where he is, the reader learns how Jack found the serpent in the first place, while providing his friends with the clues to the other missing piece of the serpent--something Jack is desperately going to need, if he and his friends are to have any hope of surviving this adventure.
Hoesel's story clearly follows a previous novel, Elijah's Bones, and I believe it would be better to read them in order, but Serpent of Moses still makes sense without the first. It just leaves one hungering to find out what precisely did happen in Australia that changed their lives so thoroughly . . . My understanding is that Jack's spiritual state undergoes a major transformation in the first book, but Hoesel does not delve too deeply in this novel. It is clear that Jack is still working out the details of his spiritual life--and maybe he doesn't have a personal relationship with Jesus yet--but he clearly recognizes the bible as truth. I hope that subsequent novels will further his spiritual journey, as I at least am not completely satisfied with where he seems to be right now.
Overall I very much enjoyed the book, but I would have liked to see more conclusion to the novel; it ended rather quickly. **SPOILERS** Were the Libyans all killed in the final skirmish? Were the good guys really the only ones left standing after the Israelis departed? It was a little unclear, but I have difficulty in believing that were any Libyans still alive, they'd have let them go so easily.
I received a free copy of this novel from Bethany House Publishers as part of their book review program, and I am under no obligation to write a positive review.
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Review 10 for Serpent of Moses
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Page-Turning, Action Suspense Thriller

Date:August 4, 2012
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VicsMediaRoom
Location:Irvine, CA
Age:55-65
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I had the privilege of interviewing Don Hoesel, on our radio show “Kingdom Highlights”, for his new book, “Serpent of Moses” Book Two in the Jack Hawthorne series published by Bethany House Publishers.
From the Back Cover: Moses built and lifted up the brass serpent,healing the afflicted Israelites of snakebites.
King Hezekiah called the serpent Nehushtan. Long thought destroyed, it’s been buried for millennia, secreted under the region’s shifting sands.
Now the Israeli government wants it back and they will stop at nothing to get their hands on it. Yet they’re not the only ones who covet the Nehushtan.
Archaeologist Jack Hawthorne travels to Libya intent on recovering the sacred object, but one does not cross the Mossad and expect to walk away without a fight. Jack and his friends must find the priceless “snake of brass upon a pole” before those who are also hunting it find them…and silence them forever.
Archaeologist Jack Hawthorne is back in a new thrilling adventure. The events in ”Serpent of Moses” take place three years after the events of “Elisha’s Bones”. This time his travels have taken him to Libya tracking the Biblical bronze serpent of Moses. Just as he is about to escape with the staff he is captured and taken away with the opposing team of Archeologists. Now Espy, the woman he loves, travels to Milan to find out where he went to find him while Duckey, his best friend travels to Libya for the same reason. With his friends searching to help and the bad guys searching to kill him it is just a matter of time before someone finds him, hopefully it will be his friends. “Serpent of Moses” is a page-turner, heart-racing, action, suspense thriller. Jack Hawthorne’s life is in deadly danger as he is taken captive and his abductors have orders to kill him. Don’t start this book late at night because it will be very difficult to put it down or stop thinking about it. I recommend this book highly and am greatly looking forward to Don Hoesel’s next adrenaline rush.
If you missed the interview for “Serpent of Moses” and would like to listen to it and/or would like to hear the previous interviews where we discussed “Elisha’s Bones” or “The Alarmists” and/or would like to listen to interviews with other authors and professionals please go to Kingdom Highlights where they are available On Demand.
To listen to 24 hours non-stop Christian music please visit our internet radio station Kingdom Airwaves
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Review 11 for Serpent of Moses
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A christian version of Indiana Jones!

Date:July 4, 2012
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Heart2Heart
Location:Victorville, CA
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Thinking back to my younger days and sensing what types of movies and book really appealed to me, I'd have to say action-adventure with a twist of romance. Now I was fortunate enough to find myself with the opportunity to review Don Hoesel's latest novel, Serpent of Moses which will leave you a bit breathless.
The book opens with a murder of a German, a Dr. Felix Hoffstatter while members of the Mossad try to prevent it from happening in the dead of night. The mystery will begin to deepen as archaeologist Dr. Jack Hawthorne finds himself fleeing from armed men in a cavern in the mountainous part of northeaster Libya attempting to locate a historical biblical artifact. However once he finds himself cornered and no where to run or hide anymore, he is taken back into the main part of the cavern to find the item.
The men who have kidnapped him are working for the Israeli government that want to ensure that any and all biblical relics that are discovered are turned over to them. However they aren't in the position to bargain for anything but the return of their discovered item which turns out to be a staff Moses created called the Nehushtan, to heal those inflicted by the snake bites that Moses called forth during the plagues of Egypt.
The Israeli's have hired an Egyptian giant, who goes by the name of Imolene working alongside an Englishman named Martin Templeton who have vowed to acquire the staff and leave no witnesses remaining. Now Jack has to work at finding a way to escape along with the staff before he is killed and no one knows where he is at. His only luck is his connection with Milo Sturdivant, a museum curator, who has hired Jack to locate the staff and bring it to him.
When Jack doesn't show up for his appointment, his long time friends, ex-CIA agent Jim Duckett, Dr. Esperanza Habilla and her brother, Romero, will have to use all their skills to find Jack before it's too late.
I received Serpent of Moses by Don Hoesel compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review and was immediately drawn in from the first page. As a reader, I compared this one to those Indiana Jones movies I was captivated by, with our hero looking for a hidden biblical artifact that can only be found using a series of clues, meanwhile being hunted by others who want the fortune and glory all for themselves. This one is amazing and well worth a 5 out of 5 star rating. It delivers action, adventure, suspense and a touch of romance in this Christian novel. This is the second novel from Don Hoesel that I've had the opportunity to review and I know it will not be my last. This is the sequel to Elisha's Bones which I have on my Kindle and will be reading next.
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