Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Cenacle Scroll

My fourth novel, The Cenacle Scroll is now available as a Kindle e-book. Here's the flash synopsis of the story:

Jennifer Goodwyn, a Cornell University graduate student, inadvertently returns home to sleepy Ithaca, N.Y. from an archaeological dig at the Cenacle—the purported site of the Last Supper—with an ancient bone box. The ossuary is found to contain several pieces of early first century stoneware, and a mysterious, tiny scroll. When the Aramaic glyphs on the slip of crumbling papyrus are translated, they identify the humble dinner setting as the one used by a rabblerousing Nazarene rabbi at his Seder meal, on the evening he’d been arrested by the Romans. 
One ill-considered impulse—asking a local parish priest to say Mass with the ceremonial Seder cup—sweeps Jennifer away to churches, cathedrals, sports stadiums, and to a powerful Cardinal's basilica to celebrate Mass with the vessel and to exhibit it before ever-growing crowds of believers.
But soon, all hell breaks loose. While the State Department is aggressively seeking its return to Israel, a nationwide political movement starts rising up around the relic. And Jennifer soon discovers that the storied artifact is causing sickness and even death among those who remain too long in its presence. In an effort to stem the political mayhem and insure the safety of the faithful, Jennifer hits the road, trying to stay one step ahead of the feds until she can find a way to quell the growing public chaos unleashed by the revelations of The Cenacle Scroll.
 So what is it? An action-adventure romp? A sci-fi thriller? A political thriller? Yes, all of the above, and none in particular. It starts out as a fairly traditional soft science fiction adventure story, takes some unexpected twists and turns, and quickly transitions into what is essentially a political farce. Sort of a tongue-in-cheek look at the impact of religion on our political and cultural scene. I make no conscious effort to either convert the non-religious or to tick-off or belittle the faithful. Rather I decided it was time to put my own twelve years of Catholic education to productive use, and this is the result. Please don't blame the Catholic School system; they tried, they really tried...

The story starts here, at an archeological dig at the Cenacle, in the Old City of Jerusalem: 

And ends up here:

Obviously, the characters are subjected to the mandatory and hopefully entertaining trials and tribulations along the way. It's definitely not the standard, cookie-cutter fare you've come to expect from "Big Publishing" (heh...). But sometimes different is okay, no? Especially if it makes you smile...

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