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THE SIGN Hardcover – May 19, 2009

2.5 out of 5 stars 185 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set against a backdrop of ancient and modern religious conflict, this solid thriller from bestseller Khoury (The Last Templar) explores a number of current planetary preoccupations, from far-right political demagoguery to global warming. While in Antarctica covering the breakup of the continent's ice shelf, TV reporter Grace Logan and her crew are astounded to see a bright, shimmering sphere of light in the sky. They film this astronomical anomaly as it runs through a variety of tricks, then disappears. People around the globe wonder: is it a UFO? a sign from God? or some sort of techno trick fashioned by perpetrators unknown? After the blazing sign reappears over the Arctic, a possible link emerges to an old Catholic priest, who has heard on a desolate mountain in Egypt a portentous voice in his head (Are you ready to lead your people to salvation?). Unrelenting action and a suitably twisted ending compensate for the clichéd prose. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Lately, several thrillers (i.e., Tom Knox's The Genesis Secret) have taken potshots at religion, pitting sophistication and intellect against devotion and personal faith. In a departure from his time-shifting narratives about document-protecting secret societies (e.g., The Last Templar, The Sanctuary), Khoury's new novel challenges that dichotomy. During filming in Antarctica, a news crew witnesses a shimmering sphere, unexplainable by any scientific expert. Meanwhile, in Egypt, the broadcast of the event startles a group of Coptic priests, who recognize the symbol as identical to one rendered by a prominent priest visiting their monastery. Is the mysterious symbol a sign from God or a hoax to discredit the faithful? Speaking through Father Jerome, Khoury pitches an eloquent argument for the value of personal responsibility toward one another while maintaining careful stewardship of the earth. This is a thoughtful book with a powerful message and yet also a thrilling read with compelling, well-developed characters. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/09.]—Laura A.B. Cifelli, Ft. Myers-Lee Cty. P.L., Ft. Myers, FL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult; 1st edition (May 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525950974
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525950974
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (185 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,107,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By N. Farrell on June 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I just finished The Sign and couldn't put it down. It was a real page turner, and at the same time it had a lot of great ideas and comments that really made me think. I thnk it's Mr Khoury's best book so far. I loved Gracie and Matt, I thought they were great characters that felt natural and very real to me. I also loved Jabba and his banter with Matt. The story is fast paced and huge with great action that takes you around the world. I could already see it as a movie especially every time the sign shows up, from the great opening in Antarctica to the big moments at the end which I won't describe here not to ruin it for everyone who didn't read it yet.

But reading the other reviews here, a word of warning: this book might not be for you! It all depends on what your political view is. Even though it's the characters in the book who are talking, I did get the feeling that Mr Khoury agrees with their point of view. I happen to agree with it, so it wasn't a problem for me, I loved it. But if you think keeping religion and politics separate is a bad idea (even though it's something our founding fathers wanted), if you think America was at its best these last eight years, if you think the war in Iraq wasn't a humanitarian tragedy, if you think the wrong person won the election and is now our president, and if you watch Beck and Hannity and Limbaugh and not Jon Stewart, then this book DEFINITELY isn't for you!!!
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Format: Hardcover
I am a Sunday school teacher and a Ph.D. chemist. I make these admissions to demonstrate that I am not a "religious nut" nor an "athiest scientist". Not suggesting anyone else here is; just stating that I am not.

If you enjoy intelligent writing that has just the right mix of science, religion, mother-earth love, and happy endings, this would be a good book for you. I don't understand the bitterness of some of the reviews. I didn't feel this book expressed hate towards any group. In fact, I thought it was an incredibly open-minded writing praising ALL religions. A quote from the book: "We all pray to the same God. That's all that matters. ... God doesn't care about what you eat or what you drink. He doesn't care about how often you pray to him or what words you use or where you go to do that. He doesn't care who you vote for. He only cares about how you behave toward one another. That's all that matters."

That doesn't sound hateful to me.

Read the book- read it as it is (a novel). Enjoy it. I did.
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Format: Hardcover
Unlike the vast majority of critiquers, I really enjoyed this book. It was a great chase/race against time and met my definition of an easy read. I had no problem with his view on religion or his view on Bush, though he tended to get a bit preachy, especially toward the end. However, the action never stopped and the story moved right along.

Where I didn't like the way Matthew Reilly made the Americans the super bad guys in his books, and him being a New Zealander, I had no problem with Mr. Khoury (a Brit) using Americans as bad guys because he also used them as the good guys so it didn't look so biased.

I almost put the book down because I thought it was a Christian novel, but it turned out to be just a thriller with all religions being knocked. Sure he gave Bush a good bashing, but it's not surprising considering the polarization our former Dubya caused with the rest of the world.

As for the writing, as with other Brits, he tends to mix points of view with abandon, and breaks the "rules" us unpublished writers are stuck to. However, it was only annoying in a couple of spots where I wasn't sure who's head he was in.

Also, Mr. Khoury resolved things in a way I liked, so that was a big plus for me. I can understand why Christians and Bush lovers would hate this book and that's fine. There are plenty of books I hate for my own reasons. In this case, I loved it. I will have to look for his other works. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a good read, with a good pace, interesting theme, well designed characters and enough'action' to add the right mix of tense excitement. The capabilities of the 'hero' were a stretch of the imagination but almost believable . The topics are very relevant with global warming, advanced technological capabilities and the undercurrent of lost souls from war...mixed into a facinating almost science fiction/political plot!

The only caveat is the author's willingness to heavily interject his political bias, which toward the end becomes very transparent and even a bit polemic towards those with more conservative viewpoints. He very shamefully lumps conservative Christians into a seething, mindless group that is painted as an ignorant mass. To his credit, he attempts to pull out of the broad brush condemnation of religion in general by using a priest as a foil to deliver a good message of tolernace, love and the value of all religion, no matter the roots of its faith, be it Christianity, Judaism, Islamism, Buddhism, etc. The Author Notes however were shallow and really more immature than relevant, with the purpose of establishing his underlying idea that 'conservative christians' are destroying the US. Mr. Khoury leans more toward the god of liberalism and seems at times to worship at the altar of global warming. The extremes on all sides are wrong, whether conservative, liberal, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist or any other world religion. That seemed to get a bit lost. Still, I would recommend it as good read...just put aside your biases.
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