In The Name Of God

Review – Contract With God; Juan Gomez-Jurado; Orion Books; Rs 550

– Shana Susan Ninan

Juan Gomez-Jurado’s Contract With God is one of the best birthday gifts I’ve received this year. An unassuming but attractive gold filigree-covered candle and a silhouetted man in the background, and a brownish tint makes the cover. The book is Gomez-Jurado’s second novel; his first, God’s Spy, received a bestseller status.

This piece of historical fiction is fast-paced and absolutely a top thriller. There was a sense of urgency in the author’s words that made me wanna keep reading till I reached the last word. And, let me say, I was most pleased when I did reach the end.

The book starts with an incident at a Nazi hospital in December 1943 and shifts to the present day. By 2007, with the backing of a multi-billionaire, a group of scientists, archeologists, a newspaper reporter and a batch of soldiers leave for the Jordan-Saudi border. And guess what they’re in search of? The Ark Of The Covenant! A certain family has been holding half of a puzzling scroll hidden in a wax candle for centuries. Literally. They hold onto it with their dear lives. And when it’s time to part with the candle, the head of the family ensures that his son, on his Bar Mitzvah, is informed to retrieve the candle at all costs.

What then follows is a multi-national, multi-religious chase to reach the area in the Jordan desert where they believe is the Ark. The only problem is that no one on the mission can be trusted. Characters range from lechy soldiers, a Mossad spy, a CIA operative, a powerful Muslim terrorist outfit head, and of course, a cranky agoraphobic old man who’s funding the mission. But the protagonist is a spitfire, smart-alecky reporter, who also happens to be a lesbian.

She wasn’t chosen for her excellent reporting skills, but as a bait to hold Father Fowler in place. But she goes on to outwit many a tormentor and prove herself to be made of sterner stuff. In Jurado’s first novel, too, he uses a powerful female lead. We read the novel through her voice, and it’s quite a good one at that.

Jurado’s words are gory and gripping. But the goryness is necessary here. His expanisve detailing of certain events are noteworthy. The author weaves his characters well, and like a good author or thriller novels, he’s able to keep the readers guessing about the traitor’s identity until those few precious pages at the end.

Verdict: This book has all that you’d expeect of a thriller, and more!

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Rating: 9.5/10 (6 votes cast)
In The Name Of God, 9.5 out of 10 based on 6 ratings

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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 5th, 2010 at 3:26 pm and is filed under Historical Fiction, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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