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The Book of Q: A Novel

Rabb, Jonathan

273 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 060960483X / ISBN 13: 9780609604830
Published by Crown, 2001
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Southron Books, LLC (Lexington, SC, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Signed by Author 060960483X This hardcover book is square and tight. The boards and spine have no wear with pristine gilt. The pages and endpages are clean, with no markings or folds. The dustjacket is As New. Original Price is intact. Not ex-lib. No remainder mark. Signed by the Author on the title page without inscription. Bookseller Inventory # 002494

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Book of Q: A Novel

Publisher: Crown

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: As New

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

In his national bestseller The Overseer, Jonathan Rabb demonstrated his imaginative power and keen understanding of history with a superb thriller that dazzled critics and fans alike. The Book of Q now brings his gifts to full, stunning fruition.

Asia Minor, sixth century: After several centuries of conflict with the early Christian church, the Manichaeans, a heretical sect, vanish from the historical record.

Bosnia, 1992: Ian Pearse, a young American relief worker destined for the priesthood, has his faith tested by the horrors of war, but is jolted from his despair by a passionate affair with a Croatian woman named Petra.

Rome, present day: Father Pearse, now a researcher at the Vatican Library, comes into possession of an ancient scroll after the mysterious death of one Vatican priest and the disappearance of another. His scholar's curiosity aroused, he has the document translated by an old friend in Rome. He is stunned to learn that the scroll contains ingeniously coded letters and the text of the "Perfect Light," a Manichaean prayer that has never been found in its written form.

In the early days of the Christian church the Manichaeans had been an overly zealous, highly organized secret society, scorned by the church and seemingly driven out of existence. But these newly discovered documents indicate an earth-shattering alternate history, a long-dormant, highly evolved conspiracy carefully nurtured for centuries, and an even more important scroll hinted at in the letters that will facilitate "the great awakening."
When the pope dies of a sudden illness, Pearse is roughed up by Vatican security, who want the scroll, and when the woman who translated the prayer for him is kidnapped, he realizes that "the great awakening" is not an academic concept but something very real and dangerous. With his friend's life at stake, Pearse must find the document that holds the key to this Manichaean conspiracy.

Racing from the Vatican to Greece and back to Bosnia, Pearse has to decipher the cryptograms and codes that have been passed down for centuries from one Manichaean sect to another in the documents he finds. He is also reunited with Petra, the passionate, determined Croatian woman who has lingered in his mind since their time together in Bosnia years earlier. Together they must face a heresy that has been vigilantly guarded and cared for throughout the centuries until the time is right to unleash it on the world. And the time is now. . . .

Review:

Father Ian Pearse leads a scholar's life within the Vatican walls, intent on ferreting out the textual complexities of Saint Ambrose's letters. But when a fellow priest gives him an ancient prayer that seems to hint at unspeakable heresy, and then mysteriously disappears, Pearse is forced from contemplation into action. The prayer is a fuse that will ignite a centuries-old conspiracy to establish a radical new church on the ruins of Catholicism, leading back to the ancient sect of Manichaeism, which held that man is equal to God and questioned the validity of Catholicism's central tenet: the Divine Resurrection. The Manichaeans are alive and well, as Pearse discovers, and have a disturbing tendency to turn up in the most unexpected of places--including the papal throne. And they have much, much bigger plans. It's up to Pearse to decipher the scroll and to follow its trail to the fountainhead of Manichaean truth. His journey will take him from an ancient Greek monastery to the scarred and bloody landscape of Bosnia, where a secret from his own past threatens to undermine his quest and his struggle to stay one step ahead of the Manichaean conspirators.

Unfortunately, so clumsily and pedantically does Rabb introduce the history behind the scroll, and so completely does he shortchange the reader when it comes to deciphering its secrets, that only the most patient and forgiving of fans will arrive at the novel's end without the sneaking sensation that this has all been a tempest in a teacup. Abstruseness is no crime, as any Umberto Eco fan will tell you. Dullness, however, is.

If you're looking for a rollickingly clever thriller that combines ancient religious politics, a mysterious power that threatens the stability of the Catholic church, and a tour of a vibrantly detailed Rome, The Story of Q isn't it. If you're looking for a thoughtful exploration of the soul-searing paradox that arises when a priest is forced to doubt the authenticity of the Resurrection, The Story of Q isn't it, either. For the former, you can't go wrong with Dan Brown's gloriously over-the-top Angels & Demons; for the latter, check out The Gospel of Judas, Simon Mawer's quietly powerful take on ancient history and contemporary mores. --Kelly Flynn

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