Another thriller with a historical twist, this wonderful novel combines a history lesson with a very real contemporary issue, namely the constant conflict in the middle east. For those who have read Paul Sussman’s first book, The Lost Army of Cambyses, his second novel is a much deeper read.Last Secret of the Temple

While the “Lost Army” was great entertainment and high paced action/thriller, The Last Secret of the Temple not only gives us a thrilling mystery, it’s also trying to show that with a common cause, people of different cultures do not have to be enemies. Once they get off their high horses, they might actually realize they have a lot in common.

Previous readers will be familiar with Egyptian police inspector Yusuf Khalifa in Luxor. He’s called to the scene of a murder of a hotel owner in the Valley of the Kings, and while the case seems to be easy at first, Khalifa is starting to have second thoughts of what actually happened, drawing parallells to a murder a long time ago. When the traces lead him to Jerusalem, he gets in contact with detective Arieh Ben Rhoi, who initially does his best to help the Arab inspector as little as he can. Also in Jerusalem, Palestinian journalist Layla Al-Madani has her own problems, constantly getting given a harsh treatment by Jewish police for her interviews with Palestinian extremists.

Gradually, the three threads become one, as the secrets uncovered by the murder of the Hotel owner leads us back to Nazi Germany, and then further back to the Roman occupation of Jerusalem. Secrets which if revealed, could cause the Middle East to explode.

While the book wasn’t as fast paced as the Lost Army, I found this one to be much better planned and it’s quite apparent that Sussman has put a lot of thought into this story (not saying he didn’t with the first one though). It is quite refreshing when someone shows that writing an entertaining thriller does not mean you have to “dumb down” the contents, and that you can actually make it meaningful as well.

Final Grade: 4/5

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