Michael Byrnes is the founder and CEO of a highly successful multi-million dollar insurance brokerage firm. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two daughters. The Sacred Bones is his first novel.
In Byrnes's improbable debut thriller, the styles of Dan Brown and Michael Crichton collide. An ancient artifact hidden under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is stolen in a violent robbery, and many dead bodies are left in its wake. Meanwhile, a forensic scientist receives an invitation to study the bones from what appears to be a 2000-year-old tomb. As the research progresses, the evidence leads to a shocking hypothesis: Could the bones be the remains of Jesus Christ? As in a Crichton novel, the characters exist solely to spout history and theories. Backstories and discussion are clunky at times, halting the narrative pace; an afterword seems necessary, but Byrnes's novel lacks one. Fans of historical thrillers with religious overtones will eat this up; however, if it had been written with stronger characterization and better blending of fact and fiction, it could have become a classic. Recommended for larger fiction collections.-Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Fans of Da Vinci Code knockoffs will welcome Byrnes's first novel. When an ancient stone burial box known as an ossuary is stolen from a secret crypt beneath the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, readers will immediately intuit that the bones contained in the box are those of Jesus Christ, even though it takes quite a bit longer for the characters to admit as much. American geneticist Charlotte Hennesey is summoned to the Vatican along with Dr. Giovanni Bersei, an anthropologist, to study the ossuary. Back in Jerusalem, Arabs, Jews and Christians bicker, protest, fight and scheme against one another both within and outside the Temple Mount. A ruthlessly efficient Vatican hit man, Salvatore Conte, hovers over the action. Venal cardinals, contemptuous Israelis, Knights Templar and evil popes round out a familiar cast. Byrnes puts a more contemporary spin on his material than most authors of religious thrillers. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.