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The Messiah Matrix Kindle Edition

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Jasius? Who or what is it? All Google has to offer is a two-tailed butterfly or the ring finger. Say it again. Jasius. It has the sound of something strange, yet strangely familiar. Something or someone we all know, yet infinitely beyond our comprehension. Kenneth Atchity's The Messiah Matrix explores the mystery in a fast-paced, light-hearted novel that is at the same time profoundly disturbing. The story goes forward at three levels. At the top, a rousing twenty-first century adventure that moves from the wrecks littering the floor of the Mediterranean to the corridors of the Vatican. Below that, a carbon-dated epigraphic revisionist history of the first centuries BCE and CE. And, at the deepest level, a sympathetic, fair-minded rational re-examination of "the greatest story ever told." You may applaud, dispute, chortle, weep, but you will think about this book long after the final page.
-- Benedict and Nancy Freedman, authors Mrs. Mike, Sappho: The Tenth Muse, The Immortals


In a thriller that rivals anything Dan Brown ever wrote, The Messiah Matrix threatens to take all your beliefs and toss them into the wind. A priest is murdered in Rome. His assassin is also shot and killed while with another priest. A message was delivered. An artifact is found on the floor of the sea. A Jesuit questions his faith and the history of his Church. An archaeologist uncovers the find of a lifetime and loses it.

A connection between Christ and Augustus Caesar? The wise men following a star in 17 BC? Curiouser and curiouser! Although you know what they say about curiosity. The Monsignor searching for the ashes of Christ--which he was killed before explaining. Does the Holy See condone murder? Damn Skippy it does!

This book is amazing! The two main characters of Ryan and Emily are the perfect pair of detectives. Will they be more? You’ll have to read the book! Emily’s coin is vital to the history of Christianity in the world, but will they get it back? On the coin, Augustus was wearing a crown with twelve spikes. What’s up with that?

In this tale we have good guys, very bad guys, the Holy Mother Church, good priests and very, very bad priests and one red-headed archaeology professor who, along with one questioning Jesuit and some of his brothers, may be able to solve the conundrum that is The Messiah Matrix.
--- Cheryl's Book Nook

"In a thriller that rivals anything Dan Brown ever wrote, The Messiah Matrix threatens to take all your beliefs and toss them into the wind." - Cheryl's Book Nook

"… unique combination of carefully researched material and breathless adventure story" – Book, Bones & Buffy

"The Messiah Matrix is a creative, thought-provoking, action-packed, historically laced, and masterfully detailed page-turner. (Watch out for paper cuts!--You'll be turning the pages quickly. It's that good!)" - Blogcritics

"More than modern thriller (which it definitely is), The Messiah Matrix is a thought-provoking, original examination of the origins and evolution of modern Christianity." - ThrillerThursday

Destined to be highly controversial - A Very Fine Novel

Review by Grady Harp

Dr. Kenneth John Atchity has created a novel that is not only an absorbing story, but it is also a platform for re-thinking the beginnings of Christianity as we have been taught. This fact will doubtless unsettle many right wing religious conservatives - much the way that Darwin's concept of Evolution has always caused them problems. And if that is an afterburn of reading this novel then we should hope it gains a very wide readership.

Acuity is a scholar, highly regarded among academics, and it is this aspect of his novel THE MESSIAH MATRIX that gives him the edge. The ideas he poses are scientifically grounded and so well developed, based on archeological findings and research, that the themes of this book cannot be disregarded. Add to that the fact that Acuity writes with an elegant style, not only in a manner that makes his story propelled forward at all times but also he creates a compelling atmosphere - both above and below the waters of the sea!

Very briefly the book opens with a gripping Prologue of the intentional murder of a priest who receives last rites from a Fr. Ryan McKeon, a Jesuit whose convictions about his religion and his church are tenuous at best, and as the struck priest dies he utters a secret that starts the story with a mesmerizing concept: who was the human form the Bible calls Jesus Christ but historical research may prove him to be a Roman Emperor, so similar are the facts about the beginning of the Biblical Christianity and Roman history. Parallel to this incident is the work of three archeological investigators, the women member of which dives to discover an ancient element at the bottom of the sea that supports the thoughts that begin with the secret shared with Ryan.

As with all successful novels there are power struggles, love stories, adventures around every turn and to reveal more would diminish the impact of the slowly unraveling mysteries that connect to question the validity of the historical Christian Savior. It is the mixture of investigative acumen and the gift for relating mystery writing in a style so eloquent that it resembles the major books of literature that makes this book so solid. There are those who compare it to the Da Vinci Code genre of books and yes, it is every bit as intoxicating as those. The difference is in the writing style. Kenneth John Atchity could write about any topic and he would be worth of reading, so beautiful is his mastery of the English language!

Grady Harp, February 2013

From the Author

Merry Christmas From the Vatican

One of many dismaying ecclesiastical events of my formative years was the Catholic Church's sudden 1984 announcement that eating meat on Fridays was no longer a mortal sin. Bad enough all those hamburgers and hotdogs sacrificed to mackerel and catfish. What really got me was the fate of those uncounted millions of souls who had been consigned to hellfire for all eternity by St. Peter's keys to the kingdom. Would they get a reprieve and be allowed to migrate heavenward, albeit a bit blackened around the edges? Apparently not! If one doctrine can so arbitrarily be discarded after centuries of confessional enforcement, what, I wondered, about so many others?

Now archconservative Pope Benedict XVI, in his latest book, "Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives," admits a few other things never made a lot of sense; infallibly ex cathedra, has pronounced an end to them. First, the year of Jesus' birth, known for millennia now as anno domini, "year of our lord," "A.D.," he admits is problematic. Being a close critic of the written word it never made sense to me that King Herod tried to kill the infant Jesus when secular history incontrovertibly records that Herod himself died in 4 B.C. "Never mind," the nuns and priests told me, "some things are mysteries and better not questioned." I suppose we're still asked to ignore the actual historical event, which was a senatorial decree to slay all male children on the birth of Octavian (later to be called Augustus) in 63 B.C. In "The Infancy Narratives," His Holiness admits that the Jesus birth year of record has been mistaken for nearly 15 centuries due to a sixth-century clerical error and should be reassigned to 7-6 B.C.

Second: It always seemed an uncanny convenience to me that the sacred date of our annual Christmas celebration of the savior's birth, coinciding with the winter solstice, is found in nearly every single ancient pagan religion -- some predating Christianity by more than a millennium. Mithra, Horus/Osiris, Dionysus and the Phrygian savior Attis all share the same birth date. Even the Christmas tree can be traced at least as far back as Attis rituals circa 400 B.C. (imported to Rome by conquests). The ritual involved the cutting down of a pine tree and installing it, branches covered with candles to shine the way home through the darkening days. All that said to me is that the story of Jesus was founded in ancient myth -- which made it all the more momentous as far as I was concerned. Now the Pope tells us that we actually have no idea when exactly Jesus was born, and that, in fact, December is just a solstice-appropriate date that need not be taken literally.

The same Pope, by the way, once declared that the greatest problem with Christian doctrine was our scholarly inability to make the historicity of Jesus credible: "the so-called historical Jesus is a mythological figure, self-invented by various interpreters." But, then, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wasn't pope yet when he said that.

Third: On my knees each year marveling at nativity cribs -- which ranged in size from the six-inch one beneath the family Christmas tree to the full life-sized crib on Gilham Road in Kansas City or in St. Peter's Square, both of the latter generally involving live animals -- I couldn't help wondering if poor Mary, Joseph and Jesus really had to deal with the rank breath of camels, ox, ass, sheep and cows. Now, it turns out, this Pope doesn't believe the camels, ass and oxen were literally there either. Thank God believing in them was never an issue of mortal or even venial sin!

Fourth: There's also an awful lot of talk in the Pope's new book about Augustus Caesar, bringer of universal peace, divus filius divi, "God and son of God," being called soter ("savior") -- a "theological figure" who arranged that history be started from his reign, the true origin of the term anno domini. Is there indeed a hitherto unadmitted "link between Jesus and Augustus"? After all, one of Augustus' many epithets is Jasius -- after a Trojan founding father of Rome.

Maybe His Holiness is simply intent on redeeming Christianity from the literalists who hijacked it two millennia ago and who never seemed to notice that their literalist beliefs are self-contradictory.

As we reach a time in American history when fewer than 50 percent of the U.S. population claims to believe in the Christian God, the Pope's scholarly conclusions illustrate more clearly than ever that it's not necessary to believe literally in any organized religion's founding story.

All religions are based on universal myth: the myth that humans are capable of aspiring to the divine urges within human nature as much as we are capable of sinking into the bestial ones. That is what the ancient fish diagram (two conjoined circles with the area of conjunction forming the fish), first popularized by the Egyptians, symbolizes. The fish in the image is formed by the intersection of the two natures, divine and bestial, within the human species. That is what the term christ originally meant long before it was attached by historical literalists to a carpenter who supposedly walked the dusty roads of Judea. At the end of the day does it really matter whether a man named Jesus actually lived, when the mythic idea of Jesus resonates through the ages, shining through the darkness of the evil that haunts us, and enlivening our hearts with (nonsectarian) Christmas hope and joy?

Good News From the Vatican

The wicked witch is not quite dead, but the present pope has resigned -- supposedly because he's getting old; but really, insiders say, because he can't control the violent politics in the Vatican except by the ultimate diffusion of renouncing the ring of the fisherman. For the first time in six centuries (when Gregory XII resigned to end a war between clerical factions) that ring will be ceremonially broken while the pontiff still breathes, to make way for his successor; and the arch-conservatives in the Mafia-besmirched Curia must face the uncertainty of what politics the next white smoke will bring.

My thought is that Benedict XVI resigned because he could no longer pretend he believes in the historicity of the founding myth, knowing as a scholar that it had never and could never be proved -- especially by the anti-intellectual fundamentalists bent on returning the world's remaining faithful to the Dark Ages where priests would never marry, women would never be priests, every act of sex must result in Sunday-generous children, and Jesus' face is actually imprinted on the shroud of Turin as certainly as Boccaccio's Friar Onion sold feathers from the Archangel Gabriel and breast milk from the Virgin Mary.

The decadence of this pope, who turns in St. Peter's keys on Feb. 28, is not only obvious from casual googling, but also written on his every photograph -- the weary, uninspiring scowl of cynicism also evident in portraits of Renaissance profligates Alexander VI or Leo X. It always amazed me that the sacred college of cardinals couldn't have found someone to elect who wasn't a childhood member of Hitler Youth! No wonder his loyal butler, after service in the Vatican under saintly John Paul, leaked secret documents from the Unholy See. Joseph Ratzinger may not have had female mistresses, but he obediently and infallibly excluded women from the altar, protected a molesting priest, inflamed the Muslim world, refused condoms to spouses married to HIV victims, and staunchly continued to sever divorced Catholics from the sacraments.

Don't get me wrong. I love what the Roman Catholic Church supposedly stands for -- the potential for the divine in every human being -- though I believe that's whether he or she is baptized or not. I just no longer believe the divine is institutionally enshrined in an organization that has condoned murder, genocide, "holy wars" and sordid sins of the shepherds against their flock for nearly its entire two millennia -- truly as sinful itself as the Roman Empire of which it is, after all, the continuation.

The divine is what I responded to as a kid growing up midst the incense, magical stained glass and haunting Gregorian chant. But I've long recognized that I also experience it in Beethoven's 9th Symphony, Francesco Goya's paintings, Antonio Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, Diane Arbus' photographs, Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" and Paul McCartney's "Yesterday."

"Great poetry," said A. E. Housman, "makes your hair stand on end" -- and all the finest and best popular arts put us in touch with the transcendent and transformative best of the human spirit.

It's been a hard lesson growing up to the incontrovertible truth that the all too human hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church does not hold a hegemony on holiness, and that its ancient formula extra Ecclesia nulla salus ("outside the church no salvation") is the very root of its corruption. Not to mention the sacrament of Confession, which by allowing all sins to be forgiven allows all to be committed. That Jesus said to Simon Peter, "I give thee the keys to the kingdom of heaven," had to be the greatest piece of self-serving propaganda ever penned by a second century scribe. Justifying what an Irish-Canadian friend calls "centuries of organized thuggery."

Isn't it time that we all grow up, reject the charlatans that collect millions every Saturday or Sunday in the name of one intolerant God or another? Isn't it time that we embrace the patent reality that evil is our own fault and that it is our human responsibility, each and every one of us, to find, instead, the heaven in our hearts and manifest it in our daily deeds -- following the universal Golden Rule that nearly every spiritual doctrine in the world has advocated from time immemorial.

To restate all of the above more optimistically, thank you, Your Holiness, for, wittingly or not, setting an example. Let's all resign from this wrong-headed church and turn our hearts and minds to the God in whose "image and likeness" Genesis claims we are fashioned.

Product Details

  • File Size: 687 KB
  • Print Length: 550 pages
  • Publisher: Imprimatur Britannia and Story Merchant Books (January 10, 2014)
  • Publication Date: January 10, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007ZJL4TK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #222,487 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

"I believe we can change the world through stories. 'The universe,' says Muriel Rukeyser, 'is not made of atoms, but of stories.' I believe in making a difference in the lives of others through the power of storytelling, both as a story teller myself and as a "story merchant" who enables other storytellers to make a difference."

Dr. Ken Atchity loves being a writer, producer, teacher, career coach, and literary manager, responsible for launching hundreds of books and films. His life's passion is finding great stories and storytellers and turning them into bestselling authors and screenwriters--and making films which send their stories around the world.

His books include, most recently, novels THE MESSIAH MATRIX and SEVEN WAYS TO DIE (with William Diehl) and nonfiction books for writers at every stage of their career. Based on his teaching, managing, and writing experience, he's successfully built bestselling careers for novelists, nonfiction writers, and screenwriters from the ground up.

Atchity has also produced 30 films, including "Hysteria" (Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancy), "The Expatriate" (Aaron Eckhart), "The Lost Valentine" (Betty White), "Gospel Hill" (Danny Glover), "Joe Somebody" (Tim Allen), "Life or Something Like It" (Angelina Jolie), "The Amityville Horror: The Evil Escapes," "Shadow of Obsession" (Veronica Hammel), "The Madam's Family" (Ellen Burstyn). Full film bio at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0040338/

He was born in Eunice, Louisiana; and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, where he attended Rockhurst High School (and was editor in chief of The Prep News). After undergraduate work at Georgetown (A.B., English/Classics), and getting his Ph.D. in comparative literature from Yale, he served as professor and chairman of comparative literature and creative writing at Occidental College and Fulbright Professor at the University of Bologna. He was Distinguished Instructor, UCLA Writers Program, and a regular columnist-reviewer for The Los Angeles Times Book Review.

As CEO of www.storymerchant.com, his Story Merchant companies, www.aeionline.com and www.thewriterslifeline.com, provide a one-stop full-service development and management center for commercial and literary writers who wish to launch their storytelling in all media--from publishing and film and television production, to Web presence and merchandising & licensing.

PRESS:

Newtopia Magazine Interview

Mongrel Patriot Review: Producer and Writer Kenneth Atchity by Tamara Spivey

A dreamer who realizes his dreams and helps others do the same, Ken Atchity has impressive credits in the worlds of film, television and publishing.

Read more: http://newtopiamagazine.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/mongrel-patriot-review-producer-and-writer-kenneth-atchity/

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 54 people found the following review helpful By H. S. Wedekind VINE VOICE on August 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am somewhat surprised that so many reviewers here gave this book 5 stars. I thought it was interesting, but there were too many distractions that kept it from being a good mystery. By that I mean, the characters seemed to get side tracked when a particular theory or historical event was brought up in conversation and would go off on a chapter long explanation of why Augustus Caesar did this, or what Virgil was thinking when the emperor ordered him to rewrite history.

I mentioned above that this book is a mystery. There is murder and there are bad guys, but you know who they are early on in the story, so as far as it being a murder mystery goes, it just doesn't live up to being one. I guess the real mystery part of this book centered on the argument "Who was Jesus?"

As I wrote in the title of my review, "Interesting, but...." An OK read. 3 stars
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful By WhiteLight on May 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
The Messiah Matrix is now at the top of my all-time favorite reads list. I was captivated from the first page all the way through to the satisfying end. It touches on a topic close to my heart, the origins of Christianity, yet maintains the fast pace expected of a contemporary thriller. It is enjoyable on many levels: first a well-researched historical drama that reveals fascinating aspects of Christian history; it provides colorful imagery of the ancient Roman Empire as well as modern-day Rome and the characters are true-to-life and believable, portraying how highly-ranked religious officials can become misguided. The author also explores a stimulating connection between a celibate Jesuit priest and a female archeologist, laying bare a sensitive issue that few other writers have dared cover. Most importantly The Messiah Matrix is chock full of edge-of-your seat intrigue! Dr. Atchity is a truly gifted writer with the ability to deliver an outstanding thriller while bringing to life once-hidden aspects of history. I highly recommend this book to all who like to gain knowledge while being highly entertained.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Seeker of Truth on May 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
The Messiah Matrix deserves to be showered with awards and I truly hope it is. I can't recall reading a novel that has ever given me greater pleasure. This book has everything I love in a novel: A great story, romance, believable characters, wonderful settings, unpredictability and a satisfying and happy ending. I also love a book that makes me think and this one is the Daddy of them all! The author must have researched the historical aspects for years to be able to present the back-story of Christianity in such fabulous and illuminating detail. I can't stop thinking about it. For me there has always been something that didn't stack up about the Biblical account of Jesus. Now I know why. The book blurb calls it a `literary masterpiece,' I don't think that is an exaggeration; the story is multilayered and the writing style masterful. This book must be read by the whole world and I will certainly spread the word.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Pius on May 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This page-turner captivated me and for the right reasons. It is well written and fulfills its essential functions. Well-researched and display a wide array of facets interwoven in a credible manner that the story comes out true to life.The Messiah Matrix and Disciples of Fortune are for now at the front list of my historical novels for their insight, information and other things.All I can say is that this is a well written work with a gripping plot, awesome characterization, beautiful dialogue and absorbing setting.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Anne Pace on May 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
The writing is ok, but with many mistakes and hard to follow at times. The whole idea of the story needs a catholic background. The reasoning had some big holes too. I wouldn't read it again.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kendra on May 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you thought Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" was the stuff of legend, wait until you read this gripping tour de force by Dr. Kenneth Atchity. The Messiah Matrix is incendiary. From the opening sentence, to the final, printed word, the action, suspense, and romance leap like flames from the pages, and there is little the reader can do to escape the heat. "The Messiah Matrix" combines crafty story-telling with scholarly research, in order to give the reader an experience that spans centuries, and defies all geographical bounds. The Vatican has a secret it will do anything to hide, resorting to clandestine murder plots, and unassailable strategies of war. At the helm, are two learned scholars (a priest and an anthropologist) who are summoned - seemingly by fate - to unearth this historical, life-altering piece of classified intelligence, while at the same time battling every obstacle that comes their way, including their growing passion and love for each other (which tends to complicate things at times). Simply put, Atchity has written a classic that will stand the test of time, primarily because of the questions raised by the story's premise... questions that will force the most ardent believer to cross-examine the precepts upon which his faith is rooted.

Pure genius!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Margaret A. Foster on September 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I got this book during a recent free promotion and I have to say I really did enjoy this book. I loved the presentation of the conflict material, the characters were well developed and there is enough mystery, action and romance to make this book an enjoyable read.

I guess Religious Mystery would be a good way to describe the genre of this book. The author has gone into detail to establish some believable research to reinforce his mystery novel and as I read the book I kept thinking this was where Dan Brown's books would go if he stepped outside the Jesus bubble and took religion to the next level.

I loved the "investigative process" the characters went through. And the material provided by the author made the presentation believable. Which is what you need to support the rest of the story plot. Because, if you can't believe the theory presented by the characters about religion and Christianity, then the actions taken by the religious institutions become absurd.

Characters are well played - we have a Jesuit priest, F. Ryan McKeon, who thought he had his world exactly as he wanted it till he meets the lovely Emily, the archeologist who finds the key to bringing down the entire Christian faith. The story spins their world totally out of control with Vatican plots, crazed Jesuit leaders and the collected research of Fr. McKeon's murdered mentor.

The book kept me turning the pages, following the research and nodding my head as I examined the evidence with Fr. McKeon. And the suspense as Emily and Ryan team up and are chased all over Italy - well, the romance was expected but Fr. McKeon keeps you guessing.

This is a delightful read, and if you love Dan Brown's books, this one will not only live up to your expectations, it will deliver some interesting and thought provoking material that will leave you wondering...
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