Review

The Last Testament

by Sam Bourne

The year is 2003. In Baghdad, American tanks rumble across the
city, and a teenage looter removes from a hidden vault an ancient
relic that, unknown to him, could alter the course of world
history. Flash forward several years later to Jerusalem. The
Israeli prime minister prepares to sign a historic and contentious
peace treaty with the Palestinians. As a man approaches the prime
minister with his arms raised, he is shot and killed by the prime
minister’s bodyguards. After the subsequent discovery that
the slain man, a known opponent to the peace accord and former
comrade-in-arms of the PM, was unarmed but desperately trying to
get a note to him, violence erupts across the Middle East.

As the violence escalates and the body counts rise on both sides
of the issue, world leaders intervene to quell the bloodshed and
salvage the tenuous peace accord.

Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, Irish-born Maggie Costello, a
skilled yet flawed negotiator, lives a dull life with a boring and
controlling boyfriend. Once a rising star on the political horizon,
Maggie fell from grace and tumbled to the earth following a
disastrous, high-profile misstep in Africa. After she is visited in
Washington by a representative from the United States government
and offered the opportunity to get back into service to help get
the Middle East peace talks back on track, the guilt-ridden Maggie
sees it as a chance for redemption --- and to extract herself from
a less-than-stellar relationship.

Maggie agrees to intervene and travels to Jerusalem to mediate
amid the turmoil across the explosive Middle East. After meeting
with the family of the slain man and digging into his background,
more deaths occur, some very close to Maggie. She becomes swept up
in the situation and discovers other murders, whose primary targets
for assassination are biblical scholars and archaeologists.

Set on the world stage of Baghdad, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, London
and Washington, D.C, THE LAST TESTAMENT is an intriguing story that
has all the elements of a bestselling novel: an ancient secret of
biblical proportions, high-stakes strife and subterfuge in the
Middle East, a dangerous yet thrilling love interest, and the
requisite, vanilla-flavored-evil-power-obsessed American
bureaucrats and covert operatives out to change the world (groan).
Despite the novel’s anti-American political bent, I found the
story engrossing; I could not put it down. While I should have been
spring cleaning or doing yard work, I had the book planted in my
hands. I glossed over long passages of narrative to get to the
story, which is compelling.

Regardless of one’s political persuasion, I recommend THE
LAST TESTAMENT to readers who love biblical thrillers, or any kind
of page-turning thrillers, because, after all, it is a work of
fiction.

Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt (dvolkenannt@charter.net) on December 30, 2010

The Last Testament
by Sam Bourne

  • Publication Date: April 1, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harper
  • ISBN-10: 0061470872
  • ISBN-13: 9780061470875