"In approximately seventy-two hours, a little-known Middle Eastern terrorist group plans to bring about the end of the world. Convinced that they are the descendants of angels, they believe they are on the verge of at last being returned to heaven. Central to their plan is the kidnapping of Martin Faber, an undercover American scientist whose research has led him to an extraordinary secret.
Martin’s only hope for survival is his young wife, Julia Alvarez—a woman born with a rare psychic gift. But she must find the courage to save her husband, all while running from religious extremists and clandestine government agencies.
Sierra takes readers on an adventure across the world, from the summit of Mount Ararat to the high desert of New Mexico, from the monuments of Washington, DC, to the medieval city of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Sierra spent years investigating scientific and historical mysteries related to mankind’s efforts to engage directly with the Almighty."
The amount of detailed research was apparent from the first page of this book. My copy included a well written glossary of terms, events and people that was interesting on it's own and added lots of detail to the story. I referred to it several times during my reading.
The plot is based on real science and real world events. At times I had to question what parts were fiction and what parts were real facts. This is the mark of a great novel! Unfortunately at other times, the science seemed to bog the plot down and the pace became too slow. There is a fine line between information that is relevant to a story and information that while interesting, really has little impact on the plot. Some of the research could have been edited or condensed.
For the most part, it is a pretty effortless read. The chapters are not too long. They alternated among the characters' story lines. I did like that Julia's (the main character) chapters were written in the first person and the others were in the third person. It made the reader bond with the character of Julia, since you felt like you were listening to a friend tell her story. It was a very effective technique.
Overall, I felt that all the characters were underdeveloped. When Julia finds that she has been used and mislead by her husband, she doesn't seem to spend much time thinking about him and their relationship. It seemed like the author spent so much time on his research that he forgot about character development. There are several characters in the story that didn't seem to have an impact on the plot and I wondered why they were included. At times,it was confusing, especially with the alternating story lines.
The ending of this book was too abrupt for me. I expected some interaction between Julia and her long lost husband. Julia felt flat and one dimensional at this point. I wanted to feel more emotion from her and was disappointed.
Should you read this book? Sure! The plot is interesting and unique. It is a very good story, just not quite a great story, but still an entertaining read!