Hardcover: 531 pages
Publisher: Blank Slate Press (October 27, 2015)
A suspicious death in Istanbul leaves one ancient scroll and clues to finding another in the hands of Drew Korchula, a thirty-two-year-old American ex-pat, a Turkish dwarf named Kadir, and Zafer, a Special Forces washout. Drew is desperate to turn everything over to the academic community, and in the process redeem himself in the eyes of his estranged wife, but Kadir and Zafer are only interested in what they can get for the scrolls on the black market. None of them anticipated a coven of shadowy Church operatives determined to prevent the revelations embodied in the priceless manuscripts from ever going public.
An action-packed, intellectual thriller unraveling a theological cold case more than two thousand years old, The Christos Mosaic is a monumental work of biblical research wrapped in a story of love, faith, human frailty, friendship, and forgiveness. The novel takes the reader through the backstreets of Istanbul, Antakya (ancient Antioch), and Cairo, to clandestine negotiations with wealthy antiquities smugglers and ruthless soldiers of fortune, to dusty Egyptian monasteries, on a nautical skirmish off the coast of Alexandria, and finally to the ruins of Constantine’s palace buried beneath the streets of present-day Istanbul.
The Christos Mosaic by Vincent Czyz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Drew Korchula is drawn into a historical mystery that could change the whole world and especially Christianity. Drew is asked by a friend of his, a Turkish dwarf named Kadir to hide an ancient scroll just for a day and that is the start of an adventure Drew never expected he would participate in. This ancient scroll could rock the foundation of Christianity and there are people out there that would do anything to stop the knowledge to come to light.
I didn't read what the book was about before I started it. All I knew it was a theological mystery. And, I must admit that I was a bit surprised about what the book was about. As a Christian was this, not an easy book to read. But, it's also, in my opinion, healthy to question one's faith because if you don't, the risk is that you will turn into a fanatic. And, much of the things the book wrote about like that Christianity has borrowed from other religions and sects are stuff I already have read about. Still it can probably be hard for those that doesn't haven the theological knowledge.
Now I'm going to spoiler the book a bit so if you don't want to know about the ancient scroll stop reading. The ancient scroll is the Q document. The Q document is a hypothetical collection of Jesus Sayings. You can read more here. The problem with the finding is that it is older than Jesus and that means that it could question the existence of Jesus of Nazareth. And, that is pretty much the essence of this book. It all boils down to; did Jesus exist or not?
Vincent Czyz has done an outstandingly good job with the theological part of the book. For some, it can probably feel too academical, for me was this like reading my favorite subject again. The only change is of course that this is a fiction, not nonfiction. But reading about the Mithras, the Dead Sea scrolls, and The Essenes, etc. was just great. The thing that I had a problem with was actually more the character and the predictability of the story. The theological part was done great, but the book never really surprised me when it came to the story. I just felt it lacked some really good twists. Not even the ending of the book felt that surprising. It was just not that hard to figure out the outcome.
And, that's just too bad. It was really good written otherwise. I read it quickly, despite being over 500 pages. But, I never really found myself caught up in the story and to be honest, Drew and his mundane problems besides finding out the truth and some religious crisis was just not that interesting to read about. Drew has wanted to get back with his wife for two years and still he gets distracted by a woman he hasn't seen for 12 years that suddenly appears? Please!
Still, it was very well researched, I loved the theological part and it was good to read something that gets one to think outside the box. I think Czyz has done a superb work with this book and I would recommend this book to anyone that likes to read religious thrillers or likes to read books with conspiracy theories.
Vincent Czyz is the author of The Christos Mosaic, a novel, and Adrift in a Vanishing City, a collection of short fiction. He received two fellowships from the NJ Council on the Arts and the W. Faulkner-W. Wisdom Prize for Short Fiction. The 2011 Truman Capote Fellow at Rutgers University, his stories and essays have appeared in New England Review, Shenandoah,AGNI, The Massachusetts Review, Tin House(online), Boston Review, Quiddity, The Tampa Review, The Georgetown Review, and Skidrow Penthouse, among other publications. He spent a total of nearly a decade in Istanbul, Turkey before settling in Jersey City. His work often deals with the existential themes found in art, myth and religion, dreams, and primal ways of perceiving the world.
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Thursday, February 11th: Bibliotica
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