Dr. Cloe Lejeune's quiet academic life as an expert in ancient languages is upended when her father is murdered. Although she and her father have been estranged for many years, she returns to Louisiana for the funeral. The reading of the will brings even more uncertainty into her life. Her father has willed her an ancient oil jar that he discovered during WWII when he parachuted into the Atlas Mountains of Tunisia and fell into a cave.
Even more surprising than the bequest of the jar is the presence at the reading of the will of Father Aloysius and a mysterious monseigneur from the Vatican. Cloe is unsure what to do with her bequest, but the priests convince her to take it to Louisiana State University to be evaluated and find out what is contained in the jar. This becomes increasingly dangerous because some unknown people, probably the ones who killed her father, are after the jar.
This fast paced suspense novel is based on the finding of the Gospel of Judas and its publication in 2006. I found the novel fascinating raising the questions of whether Judas was a traitor, as portrayed in the Bible, or whether something else was going on that led him to act the way he did.
The best part of the novel was the interweaving of the actual gospel with the fictional drama. The discussions of how the finding of the gospel affect Christianity are well done. For me, the weakest part of the book is the characters. They are stock characters whose emotions seem forced. However, if you like an adventure novel based on history, you'll enjoy this book.
I reviewed this book for Net Galley.