The Last Star

William Proctor, Author
William Proctor, Author Thomas Nelson Publishers $14.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7852-6810-9
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Daniel Thompson is an Amherst professor stuck in a deteriorating marriage. He's grading exams at his desk when a Harvard friend calls him, instructing him to look out his window. A strange, lunarlike light has appeared, and the world is in a frenzy: what is this curious glow? The Harvard buddy, Skidmore Kirkland, has finagled a sizable grant to go to Israel and research the strange emanation. Dan and his wife, Joanna, and a few other researchers (including evangelical Wheaton College professor Michael James) join the research team. Even after the group arrives in Israel, they can't determine what the light is: a black hole? A wormhole? Then Michael suggests that perhaps the light is the Star of Bethlehem. In addition to its theological theme, the novel contains emotional intrigue. Joanna finds herself wishing her husband were stronger and more sure of himself, more like Michael--but then she accidentally sees Michael and Yael, the team's female Israeli project manager, in an embrace. Yael, it turns out, is a Christian double agent, spying for both Israel and an American evangelical organization. The team's hypothesis that the light is the Star of Bethlehem is leaked to the New York Times, causing pandemonium as religious splinter groups gather in Jerusalem. More secrets emerge about the members of the team, who are not all who they claim to be. This novel is a captivating page-turner, filled with unexpected plot twists. But there's more here than just plot, as the author offers a rarity in Christian fiction: well-developed characters with credible motivations. And his Jerusalem is a bustling, complex city, not a stereotype. Proctor, whose nonfiction titles on health and religion (The Resurrection Report) have sold more than 20 million copies, shows promise of becoming the Christian Tom Clancy. (Sept.)
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