The Constantine Codex by Paul L. Maier follows the adventures of Harvard Professor Jonathan Weber as he finds himself wrapped in an international, life-threatening controversy. The contention arises from an Arabic translation error in his latest best-selling book – think here of Salman Rushdie. While fleeing Muslim enemies, Jon and his wife Shannon embark on a journey that takes them back and forth between the haven of the United States and Muslim-dominated Eastern Europe. But the discovery of an ancient text turns their escapade into an attempt to bring lost biblical records into the light, before their mysterious opponents can shut down their efforts.
Maier constructs his thriller as a credible, real-world incident, incorporating factual archaeological findings and extensive history. The plotline explores the conflict between Christianity and Islam (taking time to delve into ideological differences) and ultimately adopts a message of harmony and goodwill. In that way, the book agrees with Scripture: “Make every effort to live in peace with all men” (Heb 12:14).
The characters of the novel are true to life in many ways: speech pattern, cultural interaction, and attitudes. Maier’s delivery is intelligent and well-researched. However, in my estimation, the dialogue often fails to drive the story, and although the characters are believable, they are shallow. Though marketed as a fast-paced, action-oriented plot, the prose frequently lapses into staleness and clichés.
The book is the third installment in Maier’s Skeleton Series, but it also functions as a standalone book. Built on a sturdy premise, but burdened by clunky storytelling, I recommend the book primarily to fans of theological fiction. – Daniel Morton, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Harvard Professor Jonathan Weber is finally enjoying a season of peace when a shocking discovery thrusts him into the national spotlight once again. While touring monasteries in Greece, Jon and his wife Shannon—a seasoned archaeologist—uncover an ancient biblical manuscript containing the lost ending of Mark and an additional book of the Bible. If proven authentic, the codex could forever change the way the world views the holy Word of God. As Jon and Shannon work to validate their find, it soon becomes clear that there are powerful forces who don’t want the codex to go public. When it’s stolen en route to America, Jon and Shannon are swept into a deadly race to find the manuscript and confirm its authenticity before it’s lost forever.