Copyright © 2011, Steven E. Houchin. All rights reserved.
Where do I begin with S. J. Munson's novel, The Treasure of Israel? From the first pages, the words sloppy, amateurish came to mind. The formatting is jarring, almost as if the author's rough manuscript was dumped into a book-espresso machine and vomited out as-is. Blank lines separate paragraphs. Scene breaks are marked (or is it marred?) by multiple blank lines and gaggles of asterisks. The use of dashes is seriously inconsistent (some long, some short). Was no editing done by the publisher, Revival Nation Publishing of Ontario? Well, considering their web site is defunct, it's hard to tell the quality of their products. One profile of them indicates they dedicate profits to Christian ministry work -- a laudable goal, but no excuse for a sloppy end product. Maybe it is strictly vanity publishing.
To say the novel's characters are thin is an insult to all thin characters ever created. To quote Admiral Nimitz (Henry Fonda) from the movie Midway when discussing Objective A-F: "Thin? Damn near invisible!" The main character is Michael Grammaticus, not to be confused with his father from the opening chapter, Michael Grammaticus. The storyline has a poor man's Da Vinci Code feel to it, where a secret left behind by the deceased Michael Sr. propels Michael Jr. into danger and intrigue following clues among Rome's ancient churches. And we have, of course, the obligatory accidental female sidekick babe who latches on for the ride. The dialog among the characters usually consists of pointless arguments and dribbling banter that pretends to be clever but fails miserably.
The only interesting part for me were the flashbacks that detailed the history behind the treasures of the ancient temple of Israel. If those portions are true, then it represents a significant body of research. But, who knows how much is just made up?
Dive into a good Clive Cussler novel instead. The Treasure of Israel is definitly a book to skip.