Da Vinci Code addicts will enjoy Levin's debut, a dense, complicated novel of religious suspense. Jonathan Marcus, classics scholar-turned-lawyer, is sucked back into his former life in archeology after becoming involved in an antiquities theft case his law firm is handling. A few minutes in the presence of a chunk of the ancient Roman Forum and a reunion with an old girlfriend from his student days, Dr. Emili Travia, and Jonathan is ready to cast off his three-piece suit and return to unearthing ancient subterranean mysteries. The prize this time is the 2,000-year-old Tabernacle menorah, eight feet of solid gold stolen from Herod's Temple in Jerusalem and hidden somewhere in Rome. The forces of evil are represented by Sheik Salah ad-Din, who seeks to find and destroy the menorah. The fevered pace slows only to deliver a multitude, perhaps too much of a multitude, of interesting historical factoids. (Aug.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Despite a promising future, Rome Prize Scholar Jonathan Marcus is disgraced, driven out of academia into law (mirroring the debut author's own career trajectory). A decade later, he is summoned back to Rome to assist with a case involving a stone fragment of an ancient map. Marcus recognizes the fragment-and its surprising connection to his doctoral research. From Rome's Forum to Jerusalem's Temple Mount, the nonstop action pits Marcus against his firm and his schoolmate/romantic interest-turned-adversary, Emili, in his quest for the long-lost Tabernacle Menorah. Verdict Following in the footsteps of such authors as Dan Brown and Katherine Neville, Levin gives an ancient history and religion tutorial while weaving a thrilling plot. Readers who enjoy artifact-seeking books with behind-the-scenes tours of real sites will be captivated. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/09.]-Laura A.B. Cifelli, Fort Myers-Lee County P.L., FL Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.