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29 Reviews
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Praise for Byrnes premier work
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...
Published on April 2, 2007 by Timothy Schott

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Da Vinci Code" wannabe, falls short
"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...
Published on June 7, 2007 by William Ashbless


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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Praise for Byrnes premier work, April 2, 2007
By 
Timothy Schott (Peckville, PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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
3.0 out of 5 stars "Da Vinci Code" wannabe, falls short, June 7, 2007
"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
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars..., June 6, 2007
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
4.0 out of 5 stars The Tenth Ossuary, May 28, 2007
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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3.0 out of 5 stars The Second Coming, March 30, 2010
By 
B. Morse (Boston, MA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Sacred Bones (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. However, this book could surely, in my opinion, have prospered from a better fleshed out and more historically descriptive narrative, and leaps in time, to support such an intriguing premise. Sadly, this was not the case. In an already over-crowded sub-genre of literature, that seems a less than thought-out choice.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, fascinating, and well written!, October 2, 2008
I bought a copy of this book at a local bookstore in Germany and the cover is different from the one in the USA. What called my attention about this book was the phrase "an unholy Trinity" and the book blurb in the back cover. This is one of those purchases I didn't regret.

The chapters are small but packed-full of details and action. The book moves back and forward from The Temple Knights giving the background story to the book, to Jerusalem's present time, and Vatican City.

After reading it, I decided to write a formal review. Below is my professional review of this book.

THE SACRED BONES BY MICHAEL BYRNES

On his debut novel, The Sacred Bones, author Michael Byrnes brings us a fascinating mix of myths, legends, and themes of today in a controversial story full of intrigue, conspiracy, murder, modern technology and religion- the perfect combination for a breath taking story.

The book starts with the story of the Knights of the Temple and their duties regarding the Church and its secrets. The story then moves forward and the suspense starts in Jerusalem's present time. A relic is stolen from beneath The Temple Mount leaving behind death, destruction, and confusion. Both Muslims and Jews are blaming each other for this incident and both start their own investigation. The Israelites authorities bring in antiques expert, Graham Barton, to help with the identification of the stolen relic and its commercial value, whereas the Palestinians bring in political mediador, Razak bin Ahmed bin al-Tahini, to conduct the investigation and to reduce tension among the radical Islamic groups ready to take action for the desecration of their El-Aqsa Mosque.

Meanwhile, in Vatican city, American geneticist Charlotte Hennesey, Italian anthropologist Giovanni Bersie, and Father Patrick Donovan work together to analyze and identify the human remains inside an ancient Jewish burial box - an ossuary.

This book is a roller coaster of emotions as all these characters find themselves inside a spider web of conspiracy, murder, potential war, cover up of evidence, and zealous actions to protect an ancient secret. Will the truth set them free? Or will the truth cause their death?

I highly recommend this book to readers looking for a fiction book tastefully written, while merging difficult topics with the eloquence of an experienced storyteller. I can see this book finding its way to the big screen and becoming a major motion picture.

Bravo Mr. Byrnes!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Decently Written Da Vinci Code Knockoff, January 10, 2010
By 
Thriller Lover (Las Vegas, Nevada) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Since Dan Brown's DA VINCI CODE was published in 2003, there have been a flood of imitations on the market. None of them are great, many of them are terrible, and a few of them are decent. I would put THE SACRED BONES in the "decent" category.

THE SACRED BONES faithfully follows the DA VINCI CODE formula, since it involves an age-old religious secret that the Catholic church is desperate to hide. Many of the characters seem familiar, especially the evil assassin who spends much of his time chasing the book's heroes. There's also quite a bit of Catholic bashing, although that's pretty typical for a book of this nature.

While THE SACRED BONES is predictable, it goes down smoothly, and the author is obviously intelligent and knowledgeable about religious history. Parts of this novel read like a travelogue, as the author doles out information about life in modern-day Jerusalem, Vatican City, Gaza, and Rome. I found much of this material intriguing, and I learned quite a bit about the roots of Christianity and Islam. If you enjoy novels that indirectly teach you history lessons, this is a decent choice.

While THE SACRED BONES is interesting, it isn't particularly exciting. The first half of the book is slow (Dan Brown could teach the author a few things about pacing), and most of the characterization is superficial. The ending is also abrupt and largely unsatisfying.

Still, THE SACRED BONES is a moderately enjoyable effort that fans of the sub-genre will enjoy. But my advice is to look elsewhere if you don't have a pre-existing interest in the subject matter.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a fantastic read!! Dare I say BETTER than Dan Brown!?!?, March 28, 2007
I LOVED this book. It's jam packed with action & detail. I truly feel that this book lends much more to the imagination than the Da Vinci code - it's a real 'what if' scenario. I can't wait to see what this author turns out next!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, December 23, 2009
This review is from: The Sacred Bones (Mass Market Paperback)
This was a relatively standard conspiracy theory novel, the likes of which have gained popularity in recent years. When an ancient ossuary is unearthed containing the remains of a first century crucified man, the foundations of faith are challenged. The plot shifts between Israel, where conflict is brewing, and The Vatican, where the remains are being studied. As conclusions are reached and motives are revealed, a history involving Christ, Joseph of Arimathea and the Knights Templar unfolds with captivating evidence. While the writing wasn't exceptional, it wasn't overly corny, it wasn't full of typical clichés, and the progression flowed nicely. The plot was engaging, though it wasn't revolutionary, and included some intriguing theories. There were enough good elements to make it an enjoyable and thought-provoking book.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Explosive and thrilling 5 star read, April 25, 2007
The Sacred Bones is set at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. An ancient artifact is stolen from a vault beneath the Temple Mount. The theft has left many soldiers and policemen dead, leaving the Palestinians angry; tensions run high between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Charlotte Hennesey, an American forensic scientist has been hired by the Vatican to examine the ossuary which contains the bones of an unknown man who was crucified. Charlotte is joined by Giovanni Bersei, an Italian anthropologist and together they uncover forensic and genetic data that lead them to wonder if the bones could be those of Jesus.

As Charlotte and Giovanni become closer to solving the true identity of the man in which these bones once belonged, the Vatican's security begins to have a much greater watchful eye on her. Are the bones discovered those of Jesus? Will the Vatican allow the information on the discovering or keep the secrets hidden? With her identifying the man these bones once belonged to, will Charlotte be silenced?

Byrnes has penned a superbly crafted debut novel that tantalizes with a sense of drama and of suspense as the story races forward. It is evident that he has done a great deal of research which combines historical fact and protreptic fiction. Byrnes novel is powerful and opens an emotional vein in you leaving you with the desire to read through to the end.

Michael Byrnes currently resides in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters. Byrnes attended Montclair State University in NJ and earned his undergraduate degree in marketing, and later his graduate degree in business administration at Rutgers. The Sacred Bones is his debut novel.

This was one explosive and thrilling 5 star read and one genuine page-turner to the very end.
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The Sacred Bones
The Sacred Bones by Michael Byrnes (Mass Market Paperback - April 29, 2008)
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