"The Sacred Cipher" by Terry Brennan, was my first jaunt into the genre of Biblical archeological fiction. The classic example, I'm told, is Paul Maier's "A Skeleton in God's Closet". As a "Bible geek", who enjoys studying biblical languages and following the history of Biblical texts, I thoroughly enjoyed this work. It's hard to believe that this is truly Brennan's first novel.
The story centers on a discovery, in an old New York mission building of an ancient scroll written in an unknown script. Tom Bohannon, the director of the Bowery Mission, gets swept up in the effort to decipher the mysterious scroll. Drawing on his journalistic background and his connections within academia, Tom begins to unravel the scroll's secrets. Along the way it becomes more and more obvious that others are interested in the scroll, and they will do anything to possess it.
The fast-paced plot will keep you on the edge of your seat, as the story takes you from New York to Jerusalem and beyond. Along the way you'll discover mountain hideouts and underground caverns, secret rooms and secret messages, ancient tunnels and very contemporary security measures. The book holds something for the average fiction reader, but especially thrills the arm-chair archeologist. Anyone interested in ancient languages and historical puzzles will be intrigued by Brennan's well-researched adventure.
When the story moves to Jerusalem, the scroll's secrets threaten to undue the fragile peace of the region. When you pick up this book, you too won't have any peace until you finish it! It's that good!
Disclaimer: This book was provided by Kregel Publishers for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
Renovations were underway at the historic Bowery Mission in New York City and by chance, the construction workers came across a hidden room behind the organ pipes of the chapel. Tom Bohannan, executive director of the mission quickly realizes that what they've discovered is the office of Dr. Louis Klopsch, the first president of the Bowery mission. While the office has the traditional furnishings you'd expect, the one piece of furniture that stands out is a large ornate safe. After a bit of searching through Klopsch's desk and file cabinets, Tom discovers the safe's combination. Much to his surprise, the safe is filled to the brim with books, scrolls, manuscripts, and the like. The most unique item in the safe is an ornate mezuzah containing a five by twenty four inch scroll. The writing on the scroll is in a script that Bohannan and his brother-in-law do not recognize. Accompanying the mezuzah was a letter from Charles Spurgeon to Dr. Klopsch warning that there are men who will kill to posses the very scroll that they held in their hands. Their curiosity peaked, Bonannan and his brother-in-law Joe Rodrigurez embark on a journey to uncover the meaning of this mysterious scroll. The deeper they dig, the more dangerous things will get. Their journey will take them from the streets of New York City all way around the world to the city of Jerusalem. What they uncover could be the greatest archaeological discovery of all time. However, it may also be the last straw in the constant struggle between the warring factions in the Middle East.
If you're a fan of archaeological fiction, you need to read The Sacred Cipher. Terry Brennan's engaging style will keep you on the edge of your seat as you work your way through all of this book's 352 pages. This well researched work of fiction will be enjoyable for the both the academic reader as well as the armchair archaeologist. This book was truly a pleasure to read and deserves a rating of five out of five stars.
Terry Brennan has had an extensive career in journalism, winning several awards, including the Valley Forge Award for editorial writing from the Freedoms Foundation. Terry served eleven years as the vice president of operations for the Bowery Mission in New York City and is currently a management consultant
Disclaimer: This book was provided by Kregel Publications for review. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
The Sacred Cipher by Terry Brennan has one of the most intriguing and captivating opening sequences that Ive ever read. Immediately plunging into a world of mystery, intrigue, and yes danger, Brennan takes us into the life of Tom Bohannon as he works to discover the hidden secrets of a long-hidden scroll that leads him beneath Jerusalem to a discovery that will change the world.Though Brennan did lose me in some of his more directionally-oriented passages that describe directions, dimensions, navigation etc. (this is a common reading challenge for me), I was glued to the pages of The Sacred Cipher definitely in for the ride. His work is fun conceptually (whether we think the storyline is probable or not), and has tie-ins with biblical end-times world prophecy.I also enjoy reading novels where the author clearly writes himself into the story in a prominent way. Not only does our heros name mirror that of the author (T.B.) but he is also writing from life experiences when both he and his hero serve/have served at the Bowery Mission of New York City. Our hero also has a strong Christian worldview, and an ongoing personal faith relationship that is evident throughout the book as he depends upon his Father for guidance and protection. His faith also comes into play during his discussions with his skeptical companion.If you enjoy reading code breaking, archeologically oriented adventure stories, add Brennan to your list of authors to checkout, I think youll enjoy his writing.
Terry Brennan has crafted an intriguing novel that kept me turning the pages to uncover the secret of the unknown cipher that is mysteriously discovered in the safe of a room that has been sealed for decades. It becomes even more exciting when they travel to Jerusalem on their quest. What an incredible ending!
How do you manage to work modern geo-politics, the composer of Pomp and Circumstance, an ancient and still barely understood language, and Charles Spurgeon the most recognized preacher of the nineteenth century into a tightly written novel of suspense? Pick up The Sacred Cipher by Terry Brennan and youll find out. What begins as the casual discovery of a long forgotten scroll hidden within the walls of the Bowrey Mission in New York City escalates into an all-out race to prove the existence of a rumored temple hidden beneath the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem for a millennium.In his debut novel, Brennan puts his background as an award winning journalist and longtime officer of the Bowrey Mission to good use in weaving a fast paced story that blends strong characters, tight dialogue, and action that hits a dizzying pace as the story races to its conclusion. If you think the story idea is not plausible you would do well to bone up a little on Middle Eastern religion and politics or watch the evening news for a few weeks.The spiritual themes of the story are strong but woven into the fabric of the story rather than seeming artificial or forced. The people sucked into this mystery have depth and reflect the personalities of real people. Some believe but doubt. Others doubt but wish they could believe. And all involved find their personal search has ramifications far bigger and potentially more destructive than any ever considered. With this kind of writing one can only hope that Terry Brennan has many more stories in him yet to be told.
I love it when a debut author blows you away with his first book! Terry Brennan does exactly that with The Sacred Cipher. I had to remind myself it was a work of fiction. His research is flawless. His facts are amazing. His story is totally believable. His main character Tom Bohannon uncovers an ancient scroll while renovating the mission where he works. The search for the meaning of the ancient language takes Tom and his colleagues on a dangerous journey into the Holy Land and the secret tunnels beneath Jerusalem. While these men search for the meaning, others are prepared to kill and die to prevent the discovery. And, as the secret are revealed it becomes apparent that the entire world is about to change. This book is not a bedtime read . . . because you will not be able to sleep until you get to the end. And, if you are the type of person who likes to read the past page firs, DON'T. I highly recommend this book. I believe Terry Brennan has set the bar very high for himself and any subsequent novels. While that may be a challenge for him, for us as readers it will be a delight. I look to see this book on the big screen someday.
"Sacred Cipher" is the kind of book that sucks you in slowly and then won't let you go til it spits you out at the very end. What I mean to say is that it took me a few chapters to get oriented to what was going on, who everybody was and where the story was going. Then I had to grab on with both hands and just hold on for the ride! There are plenty of seeds of truth in this book and storyline - the preacher Charles Spurgeon and his love of books, the Demotic language and the Rosetta Stone, Sir Edward Elgar and the Dorabella Cipher, Abiathar of Jerusalem and the Bowery Mission - all of these things are real. Terry Brennan takes these items and people of fact and weaves an amazing story of mystery, intrigue and some incredible suspense that kept me up until 3:00 am reading to finish because I couldn't go to bed until I knew how it ended. Archeology, puzzles, theories, Muslims, Israelis, assasins and the President - throw in a couple Americans and a Brit and a Sacred Cipher and what you have is a tale that will set you on edge and keep you holding your breath!
About one third way into the book I thought I had the answer to the " Sacred Cipher"! Wrong! Again half way,wrong again. Never got it to the end which made for great reading on my part. Never predictable,always a curve to kept things interesting. Very descriptive so I actually saw the caves in my mind, and felt like the fourth person in the adventure. Very long so allow time just for this wonderful story. Tt's hard to put down. Hope he writes a seguel. Hope there is a movie.
The ancient scroll, stored securely in an air-tight mezuzah, had been spirited out of Egypt, and sent by ship to New York in 1891. The recipient, experiencing the dangers surrounding it, enshrined it in a huge steel safe with all his other priceless documents and sealed the hidden room until, over a century later, Tom Bohannon discovers it as the Bowery Missions chapel is undergoing repairs.Almost immediately, the same band of men who over the centuries had been entrusted to guard the scroll seeks to snatch it back at any cost. What can this undecipherable message mean, and who wants to keep it from being translated?Truly this is an epic of Raiders of the Lost Ark proportion, only better. Its historic integrity is phenomenal, the pace superb. And the ending is so satisfying and plausible, I cant wait to see if it actually takes place in the very near future, ushering in the second coming of Christ Jesus.Action adventure at its best, I highly recommend Terry Brennans debut novel The Sacred Cipher. Its the best book Ive ever read, well, except Gods Word.
An Adventure of a Lifetime. History's Greatest Secret-Tomorrow's Greatest Threat. Those are possible headlines if this novel were true and ended up on the front page of The New York Times. Or it could be the title of the memoirs for any of the "ragtag scientists and historians" in this novel. Part history lesson, part mystery, this novel by Terry Brennan is a fast-paced quest for the truth behind the secrets hidden within an ancient scroll. Think of all the best parts of Indiana Jones and National Treasure with a Christian world view and you'll get the feel for The Sacred Cipher. I would love to see this novel as a movie. This is not your bubble-gum, light and airy novel (Though, I am not putting those kinds of books down - there is certainly a place for those too). Terry Brennan's debut novel is not one that you can pick up and put down numerous times. This is a curl up in a blanket with a big bowl of popcorn, a super-sized fountain Coke (heavy on the ice please) and read far into the night kind of book. If you can only read a few pages at a time, then read a magazine and save The Sacred Cipher for when you can devote your attention to it fully. It is worth it. The main characters are fleshed out in a way that it's easy to keep them clear in your mind. Though, personally, I wish there weren't two characters whose last names started with the same letter, and it would have been even easier. But that's just one of my quirky things. I don't know anyone else who has that kind of pet peeve. And it's not even really a pet-peeve so much as a hiccup that trips me up once in a while. Like I said, quirky. In my book, I can give this novel an enthusiastic ten out of ten stars - even though I am only 2/3 of the way through it at the moment. That's how impressive The Sacred Cipher is. Did I mention that I'd love for this to be a movie? Seriously.
I have just started reading The Sacred Cipher by Terry Brennan, and I am already mesmerized. When a New Yorker finds a mysterious scroll in an unlikely place, his life is turned upside down as he deals with scientists and historians to decipher the message that has the potential to change life for all mankind. This is an intelligently written work that is methodically and meticulously plotted. It cannot be considered mental junk food entertainment. This story is told with ripped from the headlines realism. The Sacred Cipher is gripping and suspenseful. I cannot believe this is a debut novel. Are you sure its a novel?