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The Breath of God: A Novel of Suspense [Kindle Edition]

Jeffrey Small
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (442 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A murder at the Taj Mahal. A kidnapping in a sacred city. A desperate chase through a cliffside monastery. All in the pursuit of a legend that could link the world’s great religious faiths.

In 1887, a Russian journalist made an explosive discovery in a remote Himalayan monastery only to be condemned and silenced for the heresy he proposed. His discovery vanished shortly thereafter.

Now, graduate student Grant Matthews journeys to the Himalayas in search of this ancient mystery. But Matthews couldn’t have anticipated the conspiracy of zealots who would go to any lengths to prevent him from bringing this secret public. Soon he is in a race to expose a truth that will change the world’s understanding of religion. A truth that his university colleagues believe is mere myth. A truth that will change his life forever—if he survives.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his first novel, Small (God as the Ground of Being: Tillich and Buddhism in Dialogue) puts an interesting spin on the age-old secret that could undermine Christianity theme, but he relies too much on stock characters and plot devices familiar from countless Dan Brown clones. Grant Matthews, a religious studies grad student at Atlanta's Emory University "interested in the early development of Christianity during the first century"—in particular, "how contact with other cultures might have influenced this development"—hopes to find answers in Bhutan. In the Himalayas, he looks into the legend of Issa, a boy who made a spiritual journey through India some 2,000 years ago, and meets an attractive American woman who's part Asian. After discovering ancient texts chronicling Issa's travels, Matthews becomes the target of right-wing fundamentalists. Back in the U.S., a fanatical assassin with skin problems destroys the only photographic evidence of his find. The usual abductions, murders, and betrayals follow. (Mar.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


"The Breath of God is a spectacular thriller that spans the world, history, and the limits of imagination; an epic adventure that left me yearning for more"
—Rich Doetsch, author of The Thieves of Darkness and The 13th Hour

"First time novelist Jeffrey Small has created a thrilling adventure tale that spans cultures and religious traditions while also exploring fundamental spiritual truths. I was intrigued by the unique proposition that lies at the heart of the plot and captivated by the characters that keep the story moving. If you enjoy reading a fast moving mystery with the added bonus of a challenging investigation of religious beliefs then this is the book for you."
--Steve Floyd, CEO August House Books and Story Cove

"In this gripping tale – played out against an intriguing international setting – East meets West, mystery meets romance, the human spirit meets the divine spirit and the reader meets a novelist of the first caliber."
--The Honorable Raymond Seitz, former U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain

“What fun, for the heart and for the soul! In this compelling thriller, Jeffrey Small treks through a fascinating nineteenth century legend—or is it a hoax, or is it a healthy exercise in our broadening spiritual awareness? In this delightful book, Small also explores the popular distinction between religion as exploitation and religion as mysticism. Enjoy it!”
--The Very Reverend Samuel G. Candler, Dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip

From the very first pages, The Breath of God will draw you in! Jeffrey Small's masterful storytelling will take you from Himalayan monasteries to the American Bible Belt in a heart pounding adventure filled with twists, turns and shocking revaluations that will rock the foundation of traditional Christianity. This gripping roller coaster of a novel will keep you guessing until the very end. If you liked The Da Vinci Code, you will love this book.<...

Product Details

  • File Size: 805 KB
  • Print Length: 418 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1933512865
  • Publisher: West Hills Press (March 10, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004OA64UW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,690 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
134 of 136 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous! May 28, 2011
Like Jeffrey Small, I am also an Oxford Theologian. However, in my spare time I like to think I am a fairly 'normal' person... though one who is addicted to The Mentalist, Law & Order, and other mystery shows.

As a theologian, I can confirm that The Breath of God is impeccably researched. That Small has been able to integrate the characteristics of Christian Evangelism with Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism is a triumph in-and-of-itself. However, most of us do not care about such details. We are merely interested in an entertaining read at the end of a long day. The Breath of God is exactly that! It is simultaneously deep and light-hearted; soulful and yet fun. It made me laugh out loud in places, which most books do not make me do. And it made me question my own dogmas, which most books definitely do not do.

The real brilliance of The Breath of God is that it is inherently readable. That is, it will entertain you on the beach, in a plane, and can even help you nod off to sleep at bed-time. The chapters are so well crafted that you only need to read a few pages at most before a section ends, allowing for an 'I just can't put this book down' read-through in one day or 'I only have 5 minutes' digestion over a period of weeks. As I am currently in the latter category, I can assure the more time-constrained readers that it will keep your interest and you won't get lost when life's duties distract you from the book.

Treat yourself. Get The Breath of God as soon as possible. Enjoy!
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't Put it Down March 5, 2011
I was given the book as a gift and wasn't sure I would like it. But after 30 pages I couldn't put it down. The narrative goes quickly, ala Davinci Code, but in many ways the story is much more interesting as it deals with a thought provoking and incredibly interesting subplot. I loved the way the story moves around the world and the descriptions of Asia and Buddhism were fascinating. If you are looking for a engrossing read and one that makes you think, I would highly recommend The Breath of God.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! Could not put my Kindle down! January 14, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a student of Buddhism, who has always considered the interconnection of all major world religions, I truly love the idea behind this book. The author paints a very accurate portrait of how religion can tear mankind apart or pull us together, depending upon the mindset of the faithful. The portrayal of religious fanaticism and the extent to which some will go to protect fundamentalist ideology was right on! The author creates an exciting thriller while delving into some deep social issues. I was impressed by the author's ability to tackle very touchy topics without attacking any one particular religion or faith. This is a must read for anyone who does not blindly follow a religious doctrine, but instead studies & questions in search of a personal truth, the light inside us all.....the breath of God.
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55 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars super Brownian thriller March 5, 2011
Emory University doctorate student Grant Matthews knows he is running out of time on submitting his thesis. His topic focuses on the impact other cultures had on the early development of Christianity. In particular over the objections of the school's advisory board, he pursues a legend of an Asian boy traveling fourteen-fifteen centuries before Marco Polo went the other way.

In Asia, he learns from Buddhist monks that what he seeks might exist in one of the monasteries in Bhutan. He journeys to the Himalayan nation where his guide is a former Buddhist monk working to feed his family. He learns more about Issa and the lad's spiritual journey that affirms his subject loved and wrote down his travels. Grant meets Kristin Misaki and soon finds the treasure he sought. However, what happened to a Russian late in the nineteenth century when he made the same discovery soon proves history repeats itself. Christian fundamentalists are willing to kill, destroy or hide to prevent anything heretical that affirms that the early founders were in touch with other cultures for some of the religion's critical foundations coming east to west.

This is a super Brownian thriller that is at its best when the beleaguered hero is in Asia pursuing the Issa documents amidst Buddhist monks. The Christian conspiracy to shut down the heresy feels more like a sub-genre requirement and detracts from a powerful insightful novel. Still, based on a real Russian Notovitch was condemned as a heretic for publishing his finding of the Saint Issa scrolls in Himis, India, as those ancient documents explained the "Lost Years of Jesus", overall The Breath of God is a terrific tale.

Harriet Klausner
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First-rate page turner with a satisfying ending July 19, 2011
Many earlier reviewers have mentioned similarities between Jeffrey's book and those of Dan Brown. I read DA VINCI CODE and was totally disappointed at the ending of that book. I knew as I got deeper into Brown's fantastic plot that he couldn't possibly come up with an ending that would be plausible and satisfying. Jeffrey Small's first novel is a complete 180 from this: It draws you in, keeps you fascinated and on the edge of your seat; and, as you near the end, when you think all the conflict has been resolved, the ugly secret of conspiracy rears its hideous head once more! There is a lot of violence in these pages; I rarely grind my teeth over violence in a book as I do in the cinema. This was one time when I found myself flinching as I read. But it's a creative device that draws the reader closer to the very timely deeper mystery that is being explored: that of the comparative differences and similarities of world religions. I won't go into further detail except to say that Jeffrey Small's fascinating hypothesis has compelled me within five minutes of finishing his novel to go to my computer and order the original book by Nicholas Notovitch on "The Unknown Life of Jesus." Jeffrey has launched me on my own spiritual quest. I recommend to all of you who feel some spiritual urge that you read this book and see if you can resist doing further research on your own!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thriller Where Meditation is the Meta-Hero
The Breath of God is a superbly written, entertaining thriller that contains a powerful message about the transformative power of meditation. Read more
Published 4 days ago by James Connor
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting--Could not put it down!
A very intriguing, well researched mystery taking the reader from the US, to India, and to a Himalayan monastery. Read more
Published 5 days ago by elizabeth roach
5.0 out of 5 stars Having read this brilliantly written book
What an intriguing, thought provoking and informative book! I would have not considered this book based on the title alone since I normally don't read "faith based" fiction. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Judith J. Morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking Thriller
I recommended this most enjoyable and thought provoking thriller to my book club which lent itself to good discussion. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Charlotte Phillips
4.0 out of 5 stars Based on historical documents
This book, based on actual historical documents, sets its roots in the untold life of Saint Isa, uncovered within a Hemis Monastery in India by Nikolai Aleksandrovich Notovich, aka... Read more
Published 1 month ago by WORDMAN
2.0 out of 5 stars Modern pulp through and through
I can't define what "popular fiction" is, but I tend to steer away from it. Is it similar to "pop music", meant for the broadest spectrum of people for mass consumption? Read more
Published 1 month ago by 2theD
4.0 out of 5 stars Thumbs Up for The Breath of God
(originally posted on

I came across this book by a chance conversation with one of the booksellers at Barnes and Noble. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Second Run Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very thought provoking story, well written and moves quickly. This book holds your attention with every page.
Published 1 month ago by Regina
5.0 out of 5 stars comfortably mixing travelogue and religious history in a well paced...
An excellently written first novel, in the vein of Dan Brown, comfortably mixing travelogue and religious history in a well paced plot. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dr FJJ Douie
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful first novel
Wonderful first novel. Jeffrey Small's richly traveled background is captured in many small details of India, Atlanta/Emory etc. I learned a lot through his eyes.
Published 2 months ago by Ann F. Cathey
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More About the Author

Jeffrey Small is the author of the bestselling thriller, THE BREATH OF GOD, which won the Nautilus Book Award Gold Medal for Best Fiction and was hailed as "a thought-provoking masterpiece" by RT Book Reviews, "visionary fiction" by Library Journal, and "a fast-paced adventure" by Kirkus. His second novel, THE JERICHO DECEPTION, was the #8 bestselling novel on Amazon and won the Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for best Suspense/Thriller. Kirkus Reviews called it a "kinetic, engrossing thriller...a must read, while bestselling author Douglas Preston described it as "a ripping good novel" and Gayle Lynds raved that it is "a thrilling roller coaster ride into the beauty and darkness of the human mind."

Jeffrey is a summa cum laude graduate of Yale University and a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. He holds a Masters in the Study of Religions from Oxford University. Jeffrey has also studied yoga in India, practiced meditation in Bhutan, explored the ancient temples of Egypt, and journeyed throughout the Holy Land. He is a thought-provoking columnist for the Huffington Post and also blogs at

Jeffrey is an acclaimed speaker, having taught public speaking at Harvard, lectured to thousands on religion and spirituality in the 21st century, and been interviewed by numerous national media.

When not pursuing his passion for writing, Jeffrey is the founder and CEO of an Atlanta-based real estate investment company, MDH Partners. Among his eclectic hobbies, he is also a former US champion amateur ballroom dancer with his wife, Alison. For more information, please visit

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