Have you ever heard about Jews eat their own children? Yes it is mentioned in the Bible at Second King 6:24-30 that presents an astonishing narrative wherein two Israelite mothers agree to eat their children. The city of Samaria is under siege, and food is scarce, but this hardly lessens the shock of the mothers’ cannibalism.
This suspense thriller takes the reader through so many similar secrets, traveling through the Holy Land; and breaks even the DaVinci Code suspenses.
The novel begins with Rocky Rex from California joining as a researcher in Zion Archeological Center for Scroll Studies (Zacss), Tiberias in Israel. Rocky is assigned to research the scroll with Melka Kohan, the Senior Technical Assistant—the opportunity to conduct expeditions under Simeyon Yakin, the Director, a world-renowned researcher. The journeys started when a Bedouin shepherd recovered some scrolls from Qumran caves in 1947. More than 50000 scrolls dating back 2000 years were recovered from 11 caves in Qumran.
Rocky and Melka undertake the task of exploring new scrolls and to study about the wise men who went to give gifts to infant Jesus. Rocky falls in love with Melka, a Jewess. Melts parents had migrated from Poland during the Nazi persecution of Jews in the second world war. On their off days, Rocky’s trips with Melka became like a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
After a large number of setbacks, they obtain hints about the researcher who has studied wise men. During their visit with the researcher, they are taken as hostages by the Al-Qassame battalion at Ramalla. They are taken to the gallows. The timely military camando operation by Israel saves their life. They do not retreat. They meet numerous tragedies in the Judea desert on the expedition to the cave.
At last, they find out the cave and discover and collect the scrolls written two-millennium pass by Hjuvalos, a Greek scholar. The scroll depicts his adventurous journey in search of infant Jesus. It is the only scroll discovered about Jesus; they realized that it could be abducted and that their lives be in danger. Yakin began the arduous task of retrieving the writings from the decaying scroll in great secrecy. Rocky and Melka give all their help to Yakin.
Hjuvalos started his journey from Athens according to his master’s wish. He reaches Korinthto say goodbye to his family. He fell in love with a dancer, Zenobia, as the festival in the temple was going on there. He had forgotten the mission, and years passed. At the Agora, he saw the wise men who returned after presenting gifts to infant Jesus. He feels guilty. He leaves his lover and sets sail to meet Jesus. Passing Ephesus and Miletus, the ship broke down. At Coos Island, he is caught by cannibals. Escaped from there continued the journey. Reached Galilee via, Patara, Myra, Paphos, and Cyprus is. His long travel experience is a direct reflection of that era.
In Galilee, Hjuvalos becomes a member of the court of scholars with his philosophical insight. His goal was to look for the prince, who he thought was the child of Jesus.
Scanning the scrolls, editing them, and recovering the inscriptions was very trying. Participating in Jewish religious ceremonies at Melka’s house gave him a new insight into their culture and traditions. Attempts to steal the scrolls from Zacss made them panic. How many times did they think all was lost? They secretly shifted the scroll research to the distant farmhouse of Jewish film producer Perus They followed their mission.
At Galilee, Hjuvalos was suspected as the spy of the neighboring state. He was deployed with the enslaved people for the construction of the fortress of Tiberias. After a decade of work, he became limp in an accident. He was abandoned on the street. He begged there. One chief among the Qumran community accidentally met him. He took care of him. Impressed by his philosophy, wisdom and linguistic skill, Hjuvalos was taken with them to Qumran to translate the old testament into Greek. Once, Hjuvalos visited Jerusalem with the Qumran leaders to buy materials.
His description of taking part in the prayers in the Jerusalem temple is a nostalgic recollection of before it being destroyed. Hjuvalos had been once again with the group that had gone to Jerusalem. He was surprised to see his erstwhile lover Zenobia. They shared their past. She had fled to Galilee to find the prince even before he could. She became a court dancer. She became a prostitute. Eventually, she came across Jesus. She became his disciple with Martha and Maria. She took him home from Lazar and talked to him. He thought about the pledge to join the Qumran community that would be excusable. He returned to Qumran.
Due to the unsurpassable struggle of the mind, he decided to go out in search of Jesus. He rushed to meet Zenobia. The news from her shocked him and filled him with grief. Jesus was taken to Golgotha to be crucified. When he got there, Jesus was on the cross between two people on the crosses. Pushing aside the soldiers in a rush, he stepped forward and bowed with both hands at Jesus’s feet.
Pushed by the soldiers, he falls away. Jesus sees it. They see each other. He gets up. His lameness is healed. He has pushed away. Then Jesus said it is fulfilled. He felt guilty that he could not see Jesus earlier. Worried and retreating, a monk took him to his abode in the cave. Meanwhile, Yakin is killed before he completes the retrieving of the scroll. The scrolls were stolen. Rocky and Melka were interrogated as culprits by the police, but finally, Ruben Perus is caught. And attempt to destroy the only scroll about Jesus.
Rocky and Melka very adventurously find the lost scroll hidden in a cave in a farmhouse under police supervision. They get the last part of the Hjuvalos’ writing in the scroll. One day Jesus appeared to Hjuvalos who was meditating in the cave. “ You are searching for me. Be my witness”. Jesus said and disappeared.
To be a witness to Jesus, Hjuvalos has written the scroll about his journey in search of infant Jesus started from Athens, and finally, he saw Jesus on the cross and his appearance to him. That’s what Rocky and Melka found as the gospel of Hjuvalos, which ought to be the first gospel of the Bible. There are hints about what Jesus had revealed to him about future events and hid in another cave.
Melka also joins Rocky on his way back to California to get married there. They determined to return to Qumran and find the prophecy scroll given by Jesus.
The readers are kept in the ecstasy of suspense, thrill, and the glory of a nostalgic era and places. It is a pilgrimage through the Christian and Judaic religions, culture present, and first-century Holyland. The way of exploring the mysteries is marvelous. The manipulation of suspense and the exposure of the vast treasure of knowledge of the holy land in all its diversity makes the novel more attractive; and worth reading!