Monday, November 23, 2015

The Aleppo Code by Terry Brennan

This is the third book in The Jerusalem Prophecies series. One could possibly read it on its own as there is some review of the action of the previous novels given in this one. This series has a complex plot so I would recommend reading the others first. You can click on these links to read my reviews of The Sacred Cipher and The Brotherhood Conspiracy.

In the previous novels, a scroll was found in a secret room under the New York Bowery Mission. After the scroll is deciphered, Tom, the executive director of the mission, heads to Jerusalem to find the third temple. There is a huge earthquake that nearly destroys the Temple Mount. Israelis and Muslims fight over control of the area. Tom and his group try to prevent another world war but there is a strong Muslim contingent who want to restore the Caliphate and have world dominion.

This novel starts with the idea that there is something that Tom and his group have yet to do. We read about the Aleppo Codex, a book written in the tenth century. It had been captured by Crusaders and hidden for centuries. Then it was ransomed by Jews and again hidden for centuries. It is the most accurate representation of the Jewish Torah in existence. The notations in the margins contain the link that help Tom find Aaron's rod. Some Jewish thinkers associated it with the very power of God. The codex notes seem to indicate the rod was returned to the Garden of Eden, underneath the historic ruins of Babylon. Tom and his team set out to get the rod before the Islamic fundamentalists do and use its force for unimaginable evil.

Yes, the plot does sound like it has an element of the imaginative in it. The previous novels did too. There is discussion in the novel as to whether Aaron's rod really does has power in itself. Some conjecture that its use in the Egyptian plagues may find a parallel in the end time plagues recorded in Revelation. Like many of God's gifts, it seems it could be used for good or evil.

This is a good novel of adventure and suspense centered around a possible scenario of the end times. The Islamic fundamentalists are powerful and make moves toward controlling the world's finances and oil supplies, eventually aiming to take over the world. I thought that aspect of the plot was very possible. It is exciting to read about the power of God being revealed again, much as it was when the Israelites crossed the Red Sea.

There is lots of action and suspense in the novel. There are several stories going on at the same time. Brennan uses the technique of jumping from one location to another as the events unfold. At times it was a bit much for me. I also had difficulty picturing some of the action and its location. The emphasis is more on the intense action than in setting the scene.

This is a good novel for those who enjoy end times fiction. Alongside the imaginative existence and location of the Garden of Eden is a very possible narrative of the end times. Many elements in the novel are based on historical fact as noted by Brennan in an Author's Note. There really is the Aleppo Codex. Several of the places and people mentioned in the book are real. Brennan has done lots of research and we learn much about the situation in the Middle East.

You can watch a book trailer and read an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Terry Brennan is an award winning author and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. He is currently the chief administrative officer for Care for the Homeless in New York City. You can find out more at

Kregel Publications, 384 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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