A Benedictine monastery called Emmaus has been standing on a hill overlooking the city of Prague since 1348. Around the same time that the Black Death came to its doors, so did a mysterious book. The monk who delivered it said that if someone inquires as to its existence, it must be denied. If someone were to learn of its contents, that person must be killed. The Holy Roman Church could be undone by its secrets.
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Hidden in the monastery by an elderly translator and lost after his death, the book has long been the subject of searches… first by two young monks in 1373, then by the Nazis in 1944, and finally by a beautiful professor and her graduate assistant in 2022. Some will search, some will fall in love, some will die, and some will find The Book of Emmaus.
This author has just become my number one favorite. If you are into true mystery and intrigue this novel is for you. Hundreds of years ago a monk arrived at a monastery with an unknown novel, which the monastery with to protect and keep secret. If anyone learned of the novel or located the novel, they were to be put to death. As the thin little book exchanged hands over the years it was lost. The novel is out there, and no one seems to know where it is or who has it = but it seems to continue to hold its own mysterious powers. This novel is one of the best true mystery novels I have read in a long time. The author is very talented weaving the pages as spider would weave a web and the reader will be so enthralled that there will be know correct page to set it down. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Oh my, this was really a great book. I have a masters degree in Theology so, I am very familiar with both the Gospels and the alternative Gospels. This book wraps a great story aroundbine. Bravo! The use of different timeframes enhances the novel in a strong way. Additionally, the book is a fast read because of the well crafted writing. A great read that I highly recommend. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
A sacred tome steeped in mystery and so intrinsically dangerous that its guardians are prepared to kill to prevent anyone from learning its contents. A clandestine order of monastic watchmen whose task it is to safeguard the book through the generations. Assassins. Secret organizations. Nazis. Government conspiracies. No, this is not another in a seemingly unending series of Jason Bourne stories. This book is interesting and original. The Book of Emmaus opens with an old priest and a young priest. I’m not being coy, it does. In 1373, at a secluded monastery on the outskirts of Prague, an elder monk and his apprentice are introduced to their mysterious office. A monk in white robes instructs the pair to keep the book safe, kill any who learn of its secrets, and destroy it should it be in danger of falling into the wrong hands—which would be just about anyone else who isn’t a cloistered monk under a vow of silence. It is a common premise. A mysterious item whose provenance is unknown, containing secrets that should never have been written down. While the premise is not wholly original, the execution of the plot is. The Book of Emmaus is a page-turner. That is not a phrase I often employ. I use it now to describe this narrative. Just the introductory chapter is enough to hook a reader into a dark world. Jumping between three time periods, the author reveals only the slightest details as to the source and power of this mysterious artifact. Like literary breadcrumbs, a trail is laid that reveals more as the narrative transitions from the 1300s into World War II and ending in the modern age. What is this book? What secrets does it contain? Why is it simultaneously sacrosanct and abhorrent? Why does the Nazi regime seek to obtain it? Like the quickening of my pulse as I read the book, the plot spills forth in rapid succession. While spanning three distinct time periods, each with its own plotline, the narrative is easy to read. The snippets of information contained within the chapters leave the reader wanting more, fueling the desire to keep reading until one passes out from exhaustion and exhilaration. The characters are fleshed out quite well. No simple archetypes here, but fully realized individuals whose personalities are clearly defined. The author tells a fanciful tale; a worthy summer read. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Kevin’s St. Jarre’s THE BOOK OF EMMAUS is a fast and engaging read. Once I started, the story propelled me forward, and I finished it in several hour-long sessions over a couple of days. I don’t give out many 5 stars, but this one deserves it for being spare, well-written, compelling, thought-provoking, atmospheric, surprising, and ultimately satisfying. This slim book is set the Benedictine monastery of Emmaus in Prague, which makes it an armchair travel device. It’s an armchair TIME travel device, as well. Alternating chapters between three time periods: 1373, 1944, and 2022, THE BOOK OF EMMAUS offers a delightfully vivid sense of the monastery life in medieval plague times and the Nazi occupation of WWII, finally leading up to–and juxtaposed against–modern-day academia. These three story lines weave an intriguing tale leading to a big twist at the end. (No spoilers here!) I was most impressed with the author’s skill in organizing the plot points, making sure that each time period chapter reflected and “collaborated” with the others as the book moved forward to its conclusion. I also enjoyed the subtle philosophical commentary on power and religious zealotry. Readers of books like THE DaVINCI CODE and HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL may really dig this one. My advice? Read it while listening to some Gregorian chants.
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