The Diaries of Pontius Pilate
c. August 2012
Genre: Contemporary Thriller
The Diaries of Pontius Pilate opens with the murder of a member of an archeological team along the shores of the Dead Sea. We learn that the murderer and victim are both spies observing the expedition and grappling with the fact that the team has just discovered some controversial artifacts.
In fact, archaeologists Kevin Elliot Jill Gates have unearthed twenty mysterious copper scrolls. They manage to open one scroll far enough to take a series of digital photographs of the writings and email them to a Professor of Ancient Latin for translation. Unaware of the content, Kevin and Jill are unprepared when they’re caught between an ancient conspiracy of global power that’s determined to destroy the scrolls along with everyone connected to them and a small interfaith group of former military volunteers, the only force on earth that stands between the truth and certain death.
Joseph Max Lewis, former Green Beret, debuts with a page-turning thriller. Although the author asked for a review and sent a review copy, I did purchase the e-book.
Diaries is part conspiracy theory, part archaeology, part special ops and technological suspense with some torture and a little romance.
The reader is sent between international and inter-denominational power groups, but it’s not clear at first who are the good guys and which are the bad, which only ramps the tension. Moving through Israel, the US, academia, and anonymous torture chambers where evil reigns, readers gradually learn along with archaeologists Kevin and Jill exactly the importance of the long-held secret they unearthed. Never published, documented, or even more than faintly rumored, the existence of Pontius Pilate’s, one-time Roman ruler of Palestine at the time of Christ, investigation into the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus could affect the faith of the world. Pilate hid the diaries perhaps too well, for they lay silent for two thousand years, along with other artifacts from that horrible time.
Running from those who want to destroy evidence of the diaries and anyone who knows about them, Kevin and Jill must figure out who to trust as they are forced into close quarters on a ship. They wonder if they can even trust each other. Over the course of time, they examine their feelings as well as matters of faith while trying to keep the scrolls safe.
Diaries is not for the faint of heart, as scenes of massacre and torture are somewhat graphic. Intriguing details of military operations are detailed, as one would expect given the author’s background. Little formatting glitches and occasional other errors don’t stop the action much; I occasionally buzzed through extra-long passages of technology which others would probably enjoy. The romantic relationship was a little rough and spastic, but the story was not meant to be built around a romance, and those elements will only get better in future work, I suspect. I look forward to more from this author.