Review

Blood and Bone

by Don Hoesel

Thirteen years after finding the bones of the profit Elisha, and a decade after discovering the staff of Moses, antiquities professor Jack Hawthorne is living the life of a family man. He is married to former university colleague Esperanza Habilla and is the father of two boys, one of whom has cystic fibrosis. For all the world, they are a normal family, far removed from the globetrotting adventures and heroics of their past. But one phone call from longtime friend and former CIA agent Jim “Duckey” Duckett throws them back into a whirlwind that endangers the one thing Jack treasures most: his precious family.

BLOOD AND BONE brings Jack full circle to where it all began, searching for the bones of a biblical prophet --- bones that have a healing power for which people have killed, and will kill again, to get them back.

"[T]here is no downplaying the impressive research it took to write a book abounding in archaeological, historical and Biblical facts dating thousands of years. Don Hoesel combines this research with international settings, military and government groups, secret societies, and action galore."

Their boys have been kidnapped by a man who will do anything to acquire Elisha’s bones. Jack and Espy need only procure the bones to trade for their sons, but one fact is painfully clear: the bones have disappeared. Jack had buried them long ago in the Australian outback and assumed that’s where they would safely stay. But when the boys are kidnapped, he discovers that the bones have been stolen. Determined to rescue their sons at any cost, Jack and Espy begin an international journey, following clues and narrowly escaping enemies, to find the one thing that will reunite their family. Pursued by the CIA and a clandestine organization that protected the bones for thousands of years, the couple unravels secret codes, unearths long-hidden artifacts, and knits dangerous alliances. Jack knows that, despite impossible odds, there is no room for failure. 

BLOOD AND BONE has a fascinating premise, good imagery, and plenty of Indiana Jones-style action, but suffers from a few problems. However, I want to precede my next comments by explaining that, while I’m a fan of archaeological adventure movies, this is my first novel in that genre. I felt it crossed the line from “rich in detail” to overly detailed. The academic explanations may be a bit much for the average reader. Additionally, I found many of the circumstances implausible, particularly the way they hopped from country to country with no passports or money while constantly being tailed. There was an uncomfortable lack of concern for their two kidnapped sons. Now and then there was mention of the boys, but seldom and lacking a realistic depth of emotion.

I also have to confess that, even after reading the book, I’m not sure of Jack and Espy’s positions. How do two professors of antiquities acquire fighting skills and connections worthy of special ops marines? Perhaps this was explained in his previous books, ELISHA’S BONES and SERPENT OF MOSES. According to the novel’s back story, the two spent years trotting the globe in search of treasured artifacts while dodging enemies and risking their lives.

That said, there is no downplaying the impressive research it took to write a book abounding in archaeological, historical and Biblical facts dating thousands of years. Don Hoesel combines this research with international settings, military and government groups, secret societies, and action galore. The author is well-skilled in the art of seamlessly melding fact with fiction. And because the Christian elements are minimal, this serves as a good crossover novel. Additionally, Hoesel wrapped it up with a satisfying conclusion with which readers will be pleased. The result is a distinctive, fast-paced story that will likely captivate fans of archaeological action and suspense.

Reviewed by Susan Miura on July 17, 2013

Blood and Bone
by Don Hoesel