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The Sacred Bones Mass Market Paperback – April 29, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of Da Vinci Code knockoffs will welcome Byrnes's first novel. When an ancient stone burial box known as an ossuary is stolen from a secret crypt beneath the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, readers will immediately intuit that the bones contained in the box are those of Jesus Christ, even though it takes quite a bit longer for the characters to admit as much. American geneticist Charlotte Hennesey is summoned to the Vatican along with Dr. Giovanni Bersei, an anthropologist, to study the ossuary. Back in Jerusalem, Arabs, Jews and Christians bicker, protest, fight and scheme against one another both within and outside the Temple Mount. A ruthlessly efficient Vatican hit man, Salvatore Conte, hovers over the action. Venal cardinals, contemptuous Israelis, Knights Templar and evil popes round out a familiar cast. Byrnes puts a more contemporary spin on his material than most authors of religious thrillers.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Exciting, intelligent and incredibly true to life.” (Simcha Jacobovici, co-author of The Jesus Family Tomb)

“Byrnes puts a more contemporary spin on his material than most authors of religious thrillers.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A terrific thriller melding biblical puzzles with modern-day archaeology and the immense knowledge...gleaned by forensic science. Action-driven...” (Publishing News (UK))

“A breathless race through real historical fact laced generously with artistic license. …An immensely enjoyable read.” (Bookseller (UK))

“Fans of historical thrillers with religious overtones will eat this up…” (Library Journal)

“ …A pacy read with plenty of surprises…” (Hampstead & Highgate Express (UK))

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (April 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061233900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061233906
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,299,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Byrnes grew up in West Orange, New Jersey. He attended Montclair State University as an undergraduate, and earned his MBA at Rutgers University. After developing a successful insurance business, he honed his creative writing skills. His debut novel, The Sacred Bones (2007)--a page-turning action thriller infused with science, religion and history--was published in over twenty languages. Its sequel, The Sacred Blood, was published worldwide in 2009. Byrnes lives in Florida with his wife and three children.
For more information, visit www.thesacredbones.com.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Schott on April 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
With an abundance of writing on Jesus as of recent, it would be easy for one to overlook a novel like The Sacred Bones. You'd be well-off putting down one of those other "controversial" titles and picking up this one.

Written with a flair for suspense, The Sacred Bones certainly satiates those who enjoy history and/or religion, but doesn't leave you neck-deep in either Biblical references or entirely fictional content. Byrnes has crafted a wonderful, thought-provoking, non-controversial title that any fan of suspense, be it historical or not, can enjoy. From the opening sequence to the page-turning discoveries of the main characters, I think you'll find yourself finishing this one long before you'd like to.

A definite thumbs-up for Byrnes on his first work. I will be on the lookout for anything he has on the horizon.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By William Ashbless on June 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"The da Vinci Code" has enjoyed amazing success, prompting dozens of novels with similar themes. Personally, I really like mysteries with historical twists like this. But this one is merely competent.

The premise is fascinating and clever. And the novel starts with some crackling scenes on Temple Mount, weaving history, politics, religion and intrigue. I found the character development lacking, though, and scenes which should have sizzled fell a bit flat . Perhaps that's where "The Sacred Bones" falls short. -- none of the characters jumps off the page for me.

One of the ways mystery/suspense novels like this provide enjoyment is, obviously, surprise. An experienced writer can create characters who become something unexpected, or scenes which morph from interesting to thrilling, or clues that become red herrings. Alas, Byrnes has constructed a rather cookie-cutter novel -- the pieces are all here, but we know who is good, who is bad, and where the plot is moving. Also, I found the historical scenes--for me, the raison d'etre of this kind of novel-- rather perfunctory, and not as engaging or enlightening as I had hoped. This made the plot's twists and turns less colorful. That said, Byrnes does have a clever, if fanciful ending in store.

A competent first novel, "The Sacred Bones" will perform as a quick airplane or beach read. Overall though, more is promised than delivered.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jason Frost VINE VOICE on June 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This was one of the books that grabbed me based on the cover! It was too interesting too pass up!! Like a lot of people I'm wary of historical-fiction novels that are religious based just because too many of them follow the "Dan Brown pattern." This one didn't.

It was based in the Middle East with a host of characters that should not be getting along or working together. It was fast paced and very interesting. The cover kinda gave away whose "sacred bones" they were but the trip that got them to that is VERY good! The ending took a very different and thought provoking twist that makes you really think... could this happen? I'll definately be looking for more from this author.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. T. Campos on May 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I am a huge fan of religious thrillers. I've read them all --- good, bad and indifferent. I wasn't expecting much when I picked this up.

First of all, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the book is about the bones of Jesus Christ. THe cover is an X-ray of 2 crucified hands. THe second issue is the Nails are in the wrong place. THey should have been inserted within the wrist bones. And of course, the Vatican and those wily Templars are involved. (Although really, who else would be so interested in the Holy Drumsticks?)

But with those minor quibbles out of the way, I was pleasantly surprised.

The author put a totally different spin on the role of Joseph of Arimathea and the bones of Christ. Even the miraculous properties of the Bones are unexpected. The science (archaeology and gene mapping) is top notch. I recommend this book highly!
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By B. Morse on March 30, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Michael Byrnes' debut novel, The Sacred Bones, has an intriguing premise....the discovery of the human remains of Jesus Christ underneath the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. That's enough to stir up believers, non-believers, and skeptics, and perhaps pursuade them to take a gander at this book, which I did.

The first half of the novel plods along, and for a 300 page book, that's not really a great choice...in my opinion. Once a reader is half-way through a book, to realize that the main characters, learned scientists, haven't yet figured out what is so blatantly obvious to the reader, it can be frustrating to continue. Yet I did, and happily so because the second act of this book is where all the real 'intrigue' can be found. Chases through dark tunnels, lethal injections, miraculous medical discoveries, corpse theft......all of these exist in the last 125, 130 pages of the book, and to great effect. But still I find myself unable to praise this work any higher than I did.

This novel involves characters such as Joseph of Arimethea and Hugh de Payens. With such a notable dramatis personae; it stands to reason that an author would wish to use them more, or even Jesus himself, in the story. Granted this is not my book, I merely read it, but...it seems as though a weaving of time, past and present, would have greatly enhanced this story. To incorporate more than a few journal passages from Joseph, and from Hugh de Payens, and insert chapters, however brief, that showed their actions and the necessity of their choices would have made this a far better novel.

Many writers say that modern readers don't want 'lengthy' novels any longer...they want 'quick fix' reading. I, for one, have read certain novels that could have benefited from brevity.
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