Thursday, February 16, 2023

The Jerusalem Scrolls by Gary McAvoy Book Review

About the Book:

Two young Israeli boys discover an ancient red clay jar in a hidden cave tucked away in the Judean Desert near Qumran. Inside the jar are several scrolls written by the Essenes two thousand years earlier, before the Great Jewish Revolt, including one legendary scroll engraved on silver that speaks of what may be the great Lost Treasures of Solomon buried around Jerusalem—consistent with the predictions of the fabled Copper Scroll discovered in 1947 near the Dead Sea. But one of the overlooked parchments turns out to be far more pivotal to Christianity than anything ever before discovered—a startling manuscript written by St. Paul himself that could rewrite religious history.

Father Michael Dominic and his friends are called to Jerusalem to inspect the silver scroll, but others are trying to get to the precious manuscripts first—members of a little known sect called the Mithraists, the chief rival to Christianity up to the fourth century…a wealthy Texas televangelist…an Egyptian antiquities broker…Israeli Mossad agents…and a cast of rogues each out for themselves.

Follow the adventures of Father Dominic and his loyal team from Rome to the Holy Land—through the colorful bazaars of Cairo to the ancient holy sites of Jerusalem and Jordan—in this engaging, historical international thriller.

My Review:

McAvoy has crafted another entertaining novel that is both engaging and informative and, in my mind, a bit controversial. He is a master at weaving interesting historical and cultural details into an entertaining plot. The historical aspect centers around a cult rooted in an ancient religion. It was an early challenge to Christianity but died out. Or did it? In this novel, it is fictionally alive but in a bit different form. Beside learning about that ancient cult, there is information about the Essenes, the Temple Mount, The Dead Sea Scrolls and similar discoveries, the regulation of the selling of antiquities in Israel, the supposed Jesus Family Tomb and much more.

McAvoy often includes possible discoveries that challenge accepted religious beliefs. That aspect of his fiction is a disconcerting element in this novel. While McAvoy tells his readers in his afterward that he respects all religions and has no agenda, as a Christian, I felt a bit uncomfortable with the fictional archaeological discovery included. McAvoy reminds readers this is fiction and I take him at his word.

This novel sees old characters and a few new ones. Father Michael and Karl are back but not in the very active and suspenseful ways seen in earlier novels. There was more influential action than brute force in this plot. I certainly do enjoy McAvoy's writing style and attention to detail with the background material. He graciously lets us know what is fact and fiction in the end. And in the end, this is fiction, not a commentary on the historical claims of any religion.

My rating, 4/5 stars.

You can read my reviews of earlier novels, The Magdalene Chronicles:

The Magdalene Deception

The Magdalene Reliquary

The Magdalene Veil

and Vatican Secret Archives Thrillers:

The Vivaldi Cipher

The Opus Dictum

The Petrus Prophecy

The Avignon Affair

About the Author:

Gary McAvoy 
began his writing career writing columns for a small town weekly newspaper and articles for a regional Southern California magazine. That laid the foundation for corporate communications work supporting his own and clients' businesses. He was fascinated with cryptology and intelligence during his U.S. Army tour in Germany. Following his military service, he built a number of successful ventures in Southern California and then moved to the Pacific Northwest. You can find out more about him and his books at

Literati Editions, 266 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the author. My Comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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