Saturday, September 22, 2012

Can Biblical Plagues Be Stopped?

Griffiths, W. G. Methuselah's Pillar. Headline Books, 2012

Samantha Conway, a real-life Indiana Jones, searches in the Valley of the Kings for jewels hidden by Senenmut for his alleged lover, the Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut.  Her search, based on directions she found in hieroglyphs found many years ago by other archaeologists, sent her well-diving in the desert sands of Egypt.   She continues deeper chasing the Metropolitan Museum’s expensive camera. Sam finds a man-made opening and begins to follow shafts running parallel to the well. She moves from one opening to the next until she is above the water level of the well. She finds herself in a chamber, surrounded by skeletons, and Senenmut’s treasure.

"She is the real deal alright, not just some beautiful Hollywood impersonation designed for big ratings on the History or Discovery Channel.  She is a modern day Lewis and Clark embodied in a raw scientist.”

Hakeem Salim, a twenty-two-year-old Afghani sheep-herder hiding from missiles, bombs, and trucks climbs into empty darkness. He discovers a secret chamber that appears to be a place of worship. In the chamber, Salim finds a flat smooth stone and a tall stone pillar covered with ancient writing. As the pillar falls and the chamber begins to crumble, he escapes with two broken pieces of the pillar. Hakeem finds himself pinned up to armpits in falling earth. He struggles trying to get free. Suddenly the Lions of Justice move into his ravine. They try to release him but when they discover the pieces of the pillar they shoot him and leave with the treasure.

Ramses al Tarik, hiding in an Afghani cave, worshiping at the altar of Anubis, is the current leader of the Lions of Justice, Asad al Adala. He is also the current leader on both the DIA and CIA’s list of most wanted terrorists on the planet. The pieces of the pillar led to a legend. Methuselah who, in this way, might have given his grandson Moses the Knowledge of Good and Evil that allowed him to crush a nation to its knees and lead a nation out of bondage.

Agent John Decker, an American James Bond, traced Tarik to his hideout. Little did he expect to encounter first-hand biblical plagues. And the chase begins. Somewhere among legend, myth, Bible story, and reality, lies a world in peril and a pillar to be found. Decker and Conway become an unlikely team searching for answers and a wanted man.
This is a story rich in descriptions and filled with suspense. Every move from changes of location or point of view leaves the well-fleshed characters in cliff-hanger situations. The story is well-conceived and well-told. The twists and turns of the plot will keep the reader on the edge of their seat. W. G. Griffiths has created larger-than-life characters the reader will love or love to hate. The book ends with the reader waiting impatiently for the next one to start.

One can only hope this first-place winner of the Hollywood Book Festival will be followed by more than another book in a series. Michelle Rapkin, whom Griffiths acknowledges, told him to drop what he was doing and write this novel. His readers will hope Griffiths will once again discard all the projects he is working on, and write the screenplay, and the sequel that is waiting to be told.

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