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The story of an ancient sect detailed within papyrus sheaves hidden in the caves at Qumran ( now known as The Dead Sea Scrolls) forms the foundation of this exhaustively researched novel. The Secret of the 13th Apostle contains lore perhaps more familiar to the Knights Templar than readers of Dan Brown, but will excite similar passions.
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Religious scholar and novelist Michel Benoit was born in Madagascar in 1940 (then a French colony). In 1962, having studied Biochemistry under Nobel Prize winner Jacques Monod and obtained a PhD in Pharmacology, he entered the Benedectine order as an unordained monk, remaining there for twenty-two years. Because of his ideological non-conformity, he eventually quit the Catholic Church and decided to devote himself to research and writing. His first book, Prisoner of God, an account of his life in the monastery, became an instant worldwide bestseller when it was published in 1992. This was followed by two religious essays, a travel book based on a trip to India and, in 2006, the thriller The Secret of the 13th Apostle, which transposes into fictional form his lifetime's research on the life of Jesus.From Publishers Weekly:
Yet another discovery of a centuries-old secret that placesÂ the very existence of the Catholic Church at stake propels Benoît's formulaic religious thriller. Sinister Vatican officials, afraid that Father Andrei has stumbled on a truth that will call Jesus' divinity into question, arrange for Andrei's demise—on a train headed for Rome, he's tossed out a window to his death.Â Andrei leaves behind a clue in the form of some cryptic notes for his close friend, Father Nil, whose pursuit of evidence that there was a 13th apostle puts him in peril. Nil's foes include an improbable odd couple of assassins, a former Mossad agent and a member of Hamas. Some readers may be irked by the author's failure to explain such matters as why a key volume that leads Nil in the right direction is not better protected or why the ruthless forces behind Andrei's killing don't just eliminate Nil early on. (Sept.)
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