Book Review: Dead Sea Rising

10 Dec

Nicole Berman is determined to find there the first concrete evidence of the biblical patriarch Abraham while leading her first archeological dig in Jordan. During the excavation, Berman discovers a 4,000-year-old complex that includes evidence she believes proves her theory. But a devastating cave-in nearly kills her and she awakens in a Saudi clinic, haunted by visions of what she may have seen ― evidence of Abraham and his two sons, the half-brothers Isaac and Ishmael. One discovery leads to another and Nicole sets off across the region to connect pieces of an ancient puzzle. She is secretly opposed by a striking Palestinian, Abed Hassan, whom she falls in love with, unaware of his ties to a clandestine organization, as the head of the World Islamic Network (WIN). Nicole is on the brink of revealing new truths that could revolutionize the relationship between Jews and Arab Muslims. Meanwhile, a new volunteer on her dig team, Max Nguyen from Vietnam, discloses alarming revelations that affect everything Nicole thought she knew about herself and her family. While she doggedly pursues pieces to the Abrahamic puzzle ― which she believes holds explosive implications for the 21st century ― her own history may be coming apart at the seams.

Author of more than 195 books with sales of over 70 million copies, including the best-selling Left Behind series, Jerry B. Jenkins is former vice president for publishing and former chairman of the board of trustees for the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago.

Jerry’s writing has appeared in Time, Reader’s Digest, Parade, Guideposts, and dozens of Christian periodicals. Twenty-one of his books have reached The New York Times best-seller list (seven debuting number one).

Jerry owns the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, through which he trains writers online.


My Impressions:

I have always enjoyed novels by Jerry Jenkins. His best-selling Left Behind series was riveting, and more recently, The Valley of Dry Bones earned a recommended read from me. However, I found his latest book, Dead Sea Rising, to be a mixed bag. There are three storylines in this first book in the Dead Sea Chronicles series — present day suspense involving archaeologist Nicole Berman and family, a Vietnam-era thread focusing on Nicole’s father Ben, and an ancient tale detailing the history of Abraham’s father Terah. Just what all these have in common I never figured out. The book leaves the reader with some big cliffhangers. And therein lies the rub — I never felt like I was getting anywhere in any of the stories. Short chapters alternate between the three, and they are easy to follow, but I was frustrated by the lack of forward motion. Modern-day characters were appealing, and I was genuinely interested in their difficulties. The Biblical account? Not so much. Biblical may be stretching it a bit too. Terah’s story involves a good bit of what-ifs and some pronouncements from God that sound like something He would say, but are not actually found in the Biblical record. Terah is a thoroughly despicable character and cartoonish in my opinion. This portion of the book did make me want to dig into what the Bible has to say — a definite positive.

I hate to be so negative, but I really had a hard time with this novel and am not sure I am invested enough in any of the stories to read the next book, Dead Sea Conundrum. To be fair, there are many positive reviews on Amazon. Be sure to check them out.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Worthy for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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