The Judas Testament

Daniel Easterman, Author HarperCollins Publishers $23 (437p) ISBN 978-0-06-017768-3
The real intrigue here is how the sometimes masterful Easterman ( The Name of the Beast ) could set up such a diabolically imagined plot only to spoil the suspense in the concluding chapters. Unworldly Dr. Jack Gould, a half-Irish Catholic, half-Jewish scholar of Aramaic, becomes the unwitting pawn in a murderous struggle to possess a scroll written by Jesus--a startling document which threatens to rock the foundation of the Catholic church. Stefan Rosewicz, a ruthless antiquities collector, is the power behind Crux Orientalis, a fanatic right-wing league of the Church which wants the papyrus in order to exercise control over the Vatican. The other players are: Irina Kossenkova, an ex-Soviet agent; Parker, a key figure within a shadowy unit of the British SIS trying to cover up a bungled WW II spy operation; Father de Galais, leader of the ``good guy'' priests; and Maria, Rosewicz's daughter and the object of Jack's affection, who is being manipulated by the kidnappers of her three-year-old son Paul. Rife with betrayal, the plot plays out in a series of farfetched last-second rescues as hapless Jack, like a leaf in a windstorm, is taken captive by one malevolent gang after another until, instead of building suspense, it all becomes rather comic and tiresome. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/1994
Release date: 02/01/1994
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 514 pages - 978-0-00-737922-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-06-109192-6
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