Dan Brown set the bar for religious thrillers. But it is debatable if he himself could repeat the success of the The Da Vinci Code. Religious thrillers are the new kids on the block and I have reviewed some of them on this blog before. Pentecost is the first book of a trilogy and is currently available free for the Kindle.
The most attractive thing about Pentecost for me is the author. I have been reading Joanna Penn’s blog off and on for the last few years. She is quite the authority on book marketing and many wannabe writers hang on to her every word of advice when it comes to resources for authors. I was eager to see her wearing the author hat. That might have been a bit unfair to her because my expectations were already high. Plus the genre is such that the reader will either get hooked or be bored out of their mind.
Morgan Sierra comes from a split family and has been raised in Israel by her father. Her mother had stayed back in England with her twin. Several years later, the two twins have just reconciled and are finally close to each other. Their parents are dead, so is Morgan’s soldier husband. Morgan is currently a professor at Oxford and her interest lies in the grey area between psychology and religion – call it the occult or the supernatural or that which cannot be explained.
There is a comet speeding toward Earth, one that hasn’t come by since Christ’s resurrection. There are some fanatics who think that similar miracles will happen at this time, provided they have all twelve stones of the Apostles. Morgan is sucked into this when her sister and niece are kidnapped by a crazy American called Everett. Everett seeks these miracles to heal his terminally ill brother.
Arkane is a secret organization that literally lives in an underground network below the streets of Oxford. They collect and preserve little known treasures of the world, things that may have historical value, and unconventional power. They want to safeguard the Apostle’s stones so they don’t fall into the wrong hands. Morgan has only a few days to hunt for and gather all the stones if she wants to see her sister alive. Arkane offers help, and the hunt for the stones begins.
The book offers a fast chase that moves from continent to continent and to many fascinating countries and landmarks. As the author tells us in her notes, she has actually been to all these places which is no mean feat. How many authors can vouch for that? The story is more about the chase and there is less of the mystery element. I missed the suspense or thrill of solving a puzzle that other religious thrillers I have read offered. There is some deduction required of our heroine toward the end of the book and I enjoyed reading that part.
Pentecost is well researched and will dazzle you with a lot of facts and history that you may not be aware of. If Morgan Sierra is truly Joanna Penn’s alter ego, she is a formidable personality indeed. The characters are deep and likable which is important in a series. There are also hints about some mystery in Morgan’s life that is not yet revealed, a perfect teaser for upcoming books.
Pentecost is a good read for everyone who loves a good thriller, especially one with a female protagonist. It has certainly whetted my appetite to read more books from the series.