Book Reviews

By James Patterson, Laura Park (Illustrator), Chris Tebbetts (With)
$7.99
ISBN: 9780316101691
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Published: Little Brown and Company - November 5th, 2012

I thought this book was funny and at some points adventurous. There was one part where Rafe did graffiti on a wall at school - not the best choice in the world. I liked this book because I felt like I was in Rafe's own world.  I think this would be a good book for 9-13 year olds. -Austin  (Jan's customer, age 9)


By Kate DiCamillo, Chris Van Dusen (Illustrator)
$12.99
ISBN: 9780763663391
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Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - August 25th, 2014

This book is about a cowboy who doesn’t have a horse, but when he sees an ad in the paper with a horse for sale, he races to get her.  When he sees the horse, Mabelline, she’s not what he wanted her to be. To run, she needs a ‘’beautiful  word ‘’. But she doesn’t  like to be alone either.

I thought this was a very good book. I liked it because it was funny. It had one part where Leroy was drooling at a western movie. I would recommend this book to 6-9 year-olds. –Austin (Jan’s customer, age 9) 


$16.00
ISBN: 9781573223324
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Published: Riverhead Books - June 2nd, 2003

A stunningly beautifully written book that takes place in feudal Japan, this novel is the first in a series of 5 novels.  Hearn writes with vivid color about the religious intolerance and political fighting that
caused normal people in the very poor villages to suffer terribly at the hands of warlords.  I especially became very aware of the treatment of women during this time while also appreciating the scenic beauty of Hearns writing as the main male protagonist walks thru the woods watching a heron fishing in the river as the mists rise about him.

The primary protagonists are two very young people, a 15 year old girl who is being kept as hostage by a warlord so that her family won't fight against this warlord and a 16 year old boy who returns from gathering mushrooms for his mother to discover his village being burned and everyone laying dead around the village square.

The boy is rescued by a good warrior and protected, becomes almost royalty while the girl is promised in marriage to insure her families agreeing to the warlords goals of taking on more of the countryside.

The writing is dramatic and gave me a sense of the era.  There is a bit of romance, a bit of lost love and a hero's death and finishing this book made me want to go directly to the second in the series "Grass for his Pillow".

There is a prequel that outlines some of the earlier back story but I was warned by the person who recommended the books to me that if I enjoyed mystery and buildup, that I should read the prequel AFTER the first book.  After finishing the first book, I wanted so much to continue the story that I didn't get the prequel but instead went on to book 2.

This is an unusual book, violent yet gentle-The hero is not a Jack Reacher or Mitch Rapp but instead a man with quiet honor who gives up his goals to protect a young man's life.

I recommend this for young adults and up. –Elle (Jan’s Customer)


$15.99
ISBN: 9781402288708
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Published: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky - March 3rd, 2014

AVA AND PIP is the story of a fifth grader named Ava and a 7th grader named Pip. Ava is talkative and likes to write in a diary. Pip is quiet as a mouse and likes to draw. They are completely different but they are sisters. Ava and her new friend Bea make a plan to ‘get Pip out of her shell.’ And then Pip gets out of her shell and starts making new friends. What I liked about the book was that Ava was being nice to her sister by helping her and being by her side the whole book. I would recommend this book for 8-10 year olds. -Austin (Jan's Customer, age 8)


$24.99
ISBN: 9780062024350
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Published: HarperOne - April 7th, 2014

WOW! I knew before I was half-way through the introduction that this book would have a permanent place on my bookshelf- that I would return to it as one visits an old friend. This author has obviously “walked the walk” and, by sharing her own experiences of the dark, offers a new perspective on what it means to live fully. Well researched, well written and intensely personal. I loved it. -Sharri (Jan's Customer)


$12.95
ISBN: 9781608325856
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Published: Greenleaf Book Group - May 27th, 2013

TRAVELS WITH GANNON AND WYATT is a series of books about two boys who LOVE going on adventures. In the first book, they stop a poacher (someone who kills animals for their fur and or skin), in the second book, they are stranded on a island and use their survival skills to stay alive and in the the third book, they have to go through obstacles (like booby traps) to find Cleopatra's tomb.

I thought this series was pretty good.  I enjoyed reading about the different cultures on their travels around the world meeting different people.  These books are great for kids who are in 3rd - 5th grades.  -Austin (Jan's Customer, age 8)


$18.99
ISBN: 9780385743563
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Published: Delacorte Press - September 23rd, 2013

STEELHEART doesn't let fans of Brandon Sanderson down.  He continues to deliver well written, captivating stories with characters that you can believe in.  While he doesn't provide new, original powers for the world, he definitely adds a very unique twist to them that makes them all his own.  –Vaughn (Jan’s customer)


$14.95
ISBN: 9780778314752
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Published: Mira Books - December 30th, 2013

As one who has experienced soul-shattering loss and is well acquainted with depression, this book struck a sensitive nerve. It took me three weeks to read it because it was too intense and personal to be absorbed in a shorted length of time. I thought about just putting it down and walking away several times. Having reached the conclusion of the story, I'm so glad I didn't exercise that option. This author is new to me, but she is a skilled storyteller. I will probably be looking to read another one of her books. That being said, I would hesitate to recommend this book to anyone who has had a recent loss or who is suffering from depression. Not for everyone, but I was impressed enough to add it to my personal library. -Sharri (Jan's Customer)


$9.00
ISBN: 9781451638264
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Published: Baen Books - September 3rd, 2012

Stephanie is an 11 year old settler with her family on ‘Sphinx’ a slightly heavy gravity world in the Meyerdahl binary star system, about 1400 years after the ‘terra diaspora’ following an unspecified world war. A lonely but precocious only child, she decides to discover who is stealing celery from her mother’s experimental greenhouse. The celery theft has been going on all over the sparsely settled planet, however because it is just celery no one has bothered to put much effort into finding out who the thief is. Unknown to the settlers, a sentient species of 6 armed telepathic ‘Tree Cats’ has intentionally kept itself apart from the humans, choosing to watch and learn more before revealing themselves. However, celery seems to increase their mind speech and ability to communicate over distance and has become a valued food for 'the people.' They also really like the taste and can smell it over a distance. There are a few humorous passages as well as one slightly gory passage that the tender hearted child might find troubling..Stephanie and ‘Climbs Quickly’ also known as Lionheart, the tree cat she found stealing celery, end up supporting each other in a battle with a large predator, a “HexaPuma” to the settlers or Death Fang to the Tree Cats. With help from the colony of Tree Cats, who refer to themselves as “The People”, Stephanie and Climbs Quickly defeat the Death Fang and Climbs Quickly is badly injured. Stephanie is found by her parents, her father-a Xeno Physician helps Climbs Quickly heal but the loss of a primary ‘true hand’ leaves Climbs Quickly unable to fend for himself in the wild. He adopts Stephanie’s family and stays to find out more about the intruders..and for an unlimited supply of celery. Climbs Quickly is renamed Lionheart by the humans, for his bravery and Stephanie is named Death Fang’s Bane by the Tree Cat clan for her courage in battle. Climbs Quickly/Lionheart has meanwhile developed a strong psychic connection with Stephanie/Death Fang’s Bane. Although the settlers are considered ‘mind blind’ ie: unable to communicate with telepathy as the tree cats do, there is hope that, with continued effort, Climbs Quickly/Lionheart and Stephanie/Death Fang’s Bane might learn to communicate. She seems to have the strongest ‘mind glow’ of all her people, so much effort is put into trying to teach her to communicate. Meanwhile there is a great deal of “Come Lassie Come, Timmy’s in the well..again” moments when Climbs Quickly/Lionheart tries to guide Stephanie/Death Fang’s Bane so she can help the people with a problem. The novel ends on a positive note, with a bad guy being discovered and the tree cats protected by Stephanie and her friend Carl. The plot is a bit simple for the adult but excellent for the youngster with an interest in animals - my granddaughter is progressing from “Magic Tee House” books to this. She actually listens to her books on audio as often as she reads to herself - having both the text book and an audio is a good learning skill for the modern child. This is the first of 3 novels that prequil the “Honorverse” of David Weber by about 400 years. In the later books, which are not aimed at the Y/A audience as this is, the tree cats have become human equals. I actually listened to this on audio disc as I have developed reading problems with my seniors eyes and found the narrator, Kristine Hvan an excellent one. Either in text or on audio, this is an excellent book, with a great brave young woman as a protagonist..a much better hero for my granddaughter than a pop singer or faux celebrity in my opinion. - by Elle H. (Jan’s Customer)


By Brandon Sanderson, Ben McSweeney (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780765320322
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Published: Tor Books - May 13th, 2013

Brandon Sanderson is, as far as I'm concerned, one of the best of the current sci-fi/fantasy authors. He has a very great talent for creating unique "powers" for the worlds he writes about, giving them all a unique flavor that is highly entertaining and enjoyable. The Rithmatist takes something that seems plain and ordinary, and turns it into a wonderful new discovery. –Vaughn (Jan’s customer)


$7.99
ISBN: 9781460315194
Availability: Available Now
Published: Harlequin HQN - June 25th, 2013

From navy SEALS and PTSD to the art of tracking and the futility of revenge, this book is a near perfect blend of suspense and romance. I couldn’t put it down until I had read the last page! I’m so looking forward to reading more books by this talented author… -Sharri (Jan's Customer)


$9.99
ISBN: 9780062134684
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Published: Harper Torch - April 28th, 2014

This J. P. Beaumont series just keeps getting better and better! SECOND WATCH works as a prequel but remains firmly anchored in the here and now.  While recuperating from knee replacement surgery, Beau believes he is being revisited by ghosts from his past - a soldier he served with during his tour of duty in Vietnam and a young woman whose murder marked the beginning of his career as a detective.  Still traumatized by his experiences in the war and by a case he had been unable to solve, he resolves to do something about it.  With time on his hands, he reopens the murder investigation and what was a cold case heats up.  Following the twists and turns in this story left me breathless and the conclusion - on all fronts - so satisfying!  Well written and sure to entertain! -Sharri (Jan’s customer)


$4.99
ISBN: 9780989441025
Availability: Available Now
Published: Smashwords Edition - July 30th, 2014

One more time this author has succeeded in using his gift as a story-teller to bring history up close and personal. 

As the American colonies struggle toward independence, Robert is facing a unique challenge of his own.  Can he protect his family and his livelihood as a blacksmith, support his friends and neighbors, and continue to stay true to his Quaker beliefs and values?  Can he follow the light of his convictions no matter what?  Decisions cannot be made lightly and consequences must be considered.

This is a great story, well written, and I appreciate it's message.  The questions raised are universal, relevant and thought provoking.  I can't wait to read the next book in this series! –Sharri (Jan’s customer)


$3.99
ISBN: 9780756645144
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Published: DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley) - February 15th, 2009

Yoda in Action is a book about the jedi, Yoda.  Yoda is trying to go see his friend on another planet, but Ventress, a former jedi turned to the dark side, is ready to battle.  She sends droids into the forest so they'll kill him. 

I would recommend this book for kids that are new to reading and like Star Wars.  -Austin (Jan's customer, age 8)


By J. K. Rowling, Mary GrandPre (Illustrator)
$10.99
ISBN: 9780590353427
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Published: Arthur A. Levine Books - September 6th, 1999

Harry Potter is a boy who has magical powers. He is probably the third most famous person in the wizarding world. He survived the most darkest wizard's curse. That wizards name is Lord Voldemort. I am on the sixth book in the series. The thing that is cool about the books is that Harry is always doing what he is not suppose to. I'd recommend this series to kids who are interested in magic and sorcery. -Austin (Jan's customer, age 8)


$25.99
ISBN: 9780062221063
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Published: William Morrow & Company - July 8th, 2013

This has to be one of the best “first novels” I’ve read-ever!  The author’s talent and skill with words is amazing, to be able to write a story of this scope and complexity.  I lost a lot of sleep over this book because I found it so difficult to put down.  It captured my imagination and put my mind in overdrive.  Days later and my mind is still pondering the “what ifs?”  What if scientists could really bring someone back to life at a future date? What would it mean? What if it happened to me? How would I feel?  The questions go on and on.  So many questions but none answered.  Perhaps that is the fun of it! If you’re the curious type do read this book! -Sharri (Jan's customer)


$6.99
ISBN: 9781482339123
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Published: Createspace - January 31st, 2013

I love this little book on how to find happiness.  The print is bold and easy to read and the length of each chapter matches my attention span.  The lessons within are solid.  If you are looking for happiness and find it to be an elusive little sucker, this is the book for you!  I can’t wait to meet this author in person. -Sharri (Jan's Customer)


By Lemony Snicket, Seth (Illustrator)
$15.99
ISBN: 9780316123082
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - October 22nd, 2012

Acquaintances: Lemony, Theodora, Moxi, Qwerty, Prosper Lost, Mitchums, Ellington, Stew, Mrs. Sallis, (Pip, Squeak) (brothers). Suspects: Mallahans, Ellington, Mrs. Sallis, Butler, Hagfire. Crime Scenes: Stain’d-By-The-Sea, Lost Arms, library, light house, mansion, Black Cat coffee, train station, cottage. Plot: When boy named Lemony finishes a unusual education he gets apprenticed by Theodora to solve a crime. The crime is that Mrs. Sallis the owner of the Mansion in Stain’d-By-The-Sea claims someone took her valuable statue “The Bombarding Beast,” but she also claims that the Mallahans stole the statue. When Lemony goes to the Mallahans a girl Moxi shows him the Bombarding Beast and somehow it’s dusty.???. Lemony goes to a hotel and stays there with his “chaperone”. The next day they plan to steal the statue, when they steal the statue Lemony falls off the rope they escape on with the statue. Lemony falls in the trees and meets Ellington who sends the statue to the Black Cat coffee shop Lemony finds it and hides it then he returns it. When he returns Ellington steals it and gives it to Hagfire to supposedly get her dad back. Problem: Who does it belong to? Solutions: Mallahans. Investigators rate story 95% - Review by Brendan W. a young reader and Jan’s customer


Call store for price and availablility: 503-649-3444
ISBN: 9781614130178
Availability: Special Order
Published: Puddletown Publishing Group - May 31st, 2011

This book is a colorful account of life in colonial Vermont during the Revolutionary War. As the story begins, Caleb is left to care for his mother and younger brother after his father enlists to fight with Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys in their war against the British. One day, while Caleb is paddling his dug-out canoe along the shore of Lake Champlain, he has an encounter with Captain Mallot- a Frenchman with a dubious reputation. The story really takes off from there and leads to events that will not only affect the course of the war but will change Caleb’s life forever. Although this is not the type of book I would normally pick for myself, I liked it. The author has obviously done his research and the story is totally believable. I would like to see this book in every high school library; available to students with an interest in our nation’s history. -Sharri J. (Jan’s Paperbacks Customer)


$14.99
ISBN: 9781934992050
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Resplendence Publishing, LLC - April 9th, 2008

The first in a three-part series, The Centurion and the Queen pits the Celtic queen Delia against the Roman Centurion Marius against each other in 1st century Britannia. Delia is a fiery queen, fiercely loyal to her people and Marius is a compassionate and dutiful military leader. A surprising connection between them occurs and a passionate love story ensues. The violent turn of events in Delia's homeland threaten to tear them apart but the lovers try to stay strong for each other and their beliefs knowing that one day, they will find each other again.

Gloriously researched and minute in its historical detail, Minnette Meador's The Centurion and the Queen is a page-turner, making you agonize about what will happen next-will Delia escape her royal, yet depraved brother? Will Marius leave his duty for love? Well, read it, and you will find out! -Amy P. (Jan's customer)

*Signed copies are available in-store*
 


$25.99
ISBN: 9780316204279
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - August 13th, 2012

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple is out of my usual reading realm, but it has become the first book I have ever read in under 10 hours. It is a sharp, witty, and highly entertaining story told in the form of 'documents'-- letters, emails, official reports, as well as narrated by Bernadette's precocious 14-year old daughter, Bee. Bernadette is quirky, agoraphobic, stay-at-home mom who is "allergic" to Seattle. Her husband Elgie is a salt of the earth type, and a well-renowned TED talker and genius at Microsoft, and daughter Bee is clever, smart and loving. Bundled with architectural drama, Antarctica, over-zealous private school mothers, the Russian mafia and self-help lingo and you have a novel with drama and flair. I definitely recommend it for a quick, addictive read. –Andrea (Jan’s customer & winner of weekly book giveaway)


$16.00
ISBN: 9780452298118
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Published: Plume Books - November 26th, 2012

This book is not so much about dwarfism as it is about the determination of a young lady to get what she wants. Born with Diastrophic dysplasia, Tiffanie's greatest desire is to have the ability to become truly independent. As I read her story, I was amazed by her courage and tenacity as I was inspired by her unfailing optimism. Tiffanie's decision, at age fifteen, to undergo a radical bone-lengthening procedure involving serious risks wasn't something I understood at first; but after reading her story a second time, I was better able to see her point of view. My perception had changed. For anyone seeking inspiration and open to a new way of thinking, this book may well be a must read. Sherri


By Jeff Kinney, Jeff Kinney (Illustrator)
$13.95
ISBN: 9780810983915
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Published: Amulet Books - October 11th, 2009

I read the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series this summer.  I thought the books were silly and awesome too.  Greg is in middle school.  He is a nerd and makes bad choices that he learns from.  I would recommend these books to other boys my age.  -Austin (Jan's Customer, age 7)


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ISBN: 9780756620257
Availability: Special Order
Published: DK CHILDREN - February 28th, 2006

The book Spider-Man: The Amazing Story is about how Spider-Man got his powers. I thought this book was awesome because I like Spider-Man and I like the story too. The characters are cool and the pictures are colorful. I would recommend this book to other 7 year old boys. –Austin (Jan's Customer, age 7)


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ISBN: 9780373753895
Availability: Special Order
Published: Harlequin - December 31st, 2011

Rafe is one of the infamous Callahan Cowboys! There has always been a war raging between the Callahan’s and the Jenkins. When the words “I’m Pregnant” came out of Rafe’s one and only love Judge Julie Jenkins mouth, a slight breeze could have knocked him over. Little did they know they were about to become the parents of not only one baby but THREE!! Hello Triplets!!! Now Julie and Rafe have a long heated history. These two are not prepared for what lies ahead in their futures, but one thing is for sure. The future is one thing that they are going to have to share! Now who doesn’t absolutely love cowboys and babies? Doesn’t that just warm your heart? For me “His Valentine Triplets” was a true American romance! I completely adored Rafe and Julie’s relationship, let alone the relationship Rafe has with his three beautiful babies! Julie and Rafe’s relationship isn’t always on calm waters throughout this book, but what relationship, or should I say what good relationship ever lasts without a little fighting? The times that Julie allows Rafe into her life shows the reader the potential for this family. Tina Leonard did an amazing job with this book and with these characters. From the first page I was drawn into the never ending feud between the Callahan’s and the Jenkins. I also found myself wishing for the best for the rest of the Callahan family. These boys have had a difficult past and they deserve the perfect women and the absolute perfect future! This being the fourth book in the series does not matter, I mean obviously you would know more about the Callahan and Jenkins families but there is no need to read the first three books to be able to read this one. With non-stop action, and unending possibilities “His Valentine Triplets” by Tina Leonard takes first place in my heart! This heartwarming American romance will leave you yearning for more! – Jan’s Customer Alicia J.


$26.99
ISBN: 9780061779749
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow & Company - April 2nd, 2012

Sacré Bleu is the third of Christopher Moore’s novels that I’ve read. The book he’s most famous for, Lamb, was so amazing that I now buy up his books without even reading the back cover beforehand. I just know it will be that good. Moore’s story is primarily set in late 19th century Paris at the height of the Impressionist period. The story begins with the supposed suicide of the questionably stable and earless Vincent Van Gogh. What follows is part mystery, mostly comedy, as Lucien and his “uncles” (who we know better as the painters Monet, Manet, Pisarro, Renoir, and of course, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec) paint the greatest works of their time while they buy paint from a mysterious dwarf known as the Colorman. The Colorman is accompanied by an equally mysterious woman who is simply named “Bleu” and his chapeau-wearing donkey named Etienne. Though lengthier than Moore’s other works, it read as easily and enjoyably as his others. The character of the whoring, drunken, and hilarious Lautrec is reason enough to give this a try. If you love art or art history or are interested in it at all, this comedy d’Art is for you! Sacré Bleu: A comedy d’Art is due out April 2012 - Amy P. (Jan's cusotmer)


$6.99
ISBN: 9781402236617
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Sourcebooks Casablanca - May 31st, 2010

Merry MacKenzie moves from a small town in Rhode Island to a small apartment building in Boston. Little does she know that shapeshifters, a ghost, a vampire, witches and a werewolf live in the building! I don't normally enjoy paranormal books but this was cute and entertaining. The next book in the series is "The Werewolf Upstairs", out now. - Linda


$16.00
ISBN: 9780140230277
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - March 31st, 1995

I'm not sure where to start with this review. I love Jodi Picoult - I find her books thoughtful, interesting and full of moral dilemas. Harvesting the Heart has all those, but the characters were almost too complex. The story centers around Paige, a new mother with a lot of unanswered questions. The pressures of being a new mother is overwhelming - so much so, that when Paige goes out to run errands, she isn't sure if she will ever return. I had a very hard time following the characters and what was going on in their head. It was a good story, but left me with a little bit of a 'huh?' feeling when I finished the last page. I'm not sure I can recommend this novel, but I would recommend Jodi Picoult any day of the week. -Jill


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ISBN: 9780446178167
Availability: Special Order
Published: Grand Central Publishing - November 30th, 2007

I find Joshilyn Jackson's book refreshingly different. Her characters are unique, unpredictable and sometimes eccentric. The same can be said for her stories. You think it is going one direction when all the sudden a twist is thrown in that you didn't see coming. Gods in Alabama focuses on Arlene Fleet a born and raised southern girl that left to go to college with the Yankees, and hasn't returned for 10 years. Now Arlene's skeletons are trying to come out of the closest whether she wants them to or not and she is forced to head south and face her demons and kin at the same time. -Jill


$9.99
ISBN: 9780451234278
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Signet Book - July 25th, 2011

In the long awaited sequel to the Last Templar, FBI Agent Sean Reilly is once again in pursuit of secrets the Vatican would prefer not be exposed. In 1203 during the siege of Constantinople, a small group of Templars infiltrated the imperial library to retrieve secrets that could rock the very foundation of Christianity. Now, eight hundred years later, Sean is trying to do the same thing by stealing from the Vatican library. He's being forced to - the love of his life, Tess Chaykin has been kidnapped, and his help in tracking down these explosive documents is the ransom. The story line jumps back and forth the time of the ancient Templars to our contemporary heros, Sean and Tess, who are trying to outwit a new kind of terrorist bent on humiliating the West by destroying their faith. As with The Last Templar, the story line is imaginative, the action fast paced and explosive. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. - Jan