I’ve got a string of good reads to review in the coming weeks! This one is very Da Vinci Code-esque, and an added bonus is that the “sidekick” is a librarian! Definitely a top pick for fans of adventure books 🙂
The Brothers’ Keepers: A Nicholas Branson Novel by Matthew Peters
Genre: Political/Religious Thriller
Most of us are familiar with Jesus’ parents, Mary and Joseph, and Jesus’ purported spouse, Mary Magdalene. But what about Jesus’ siblings? What role did they play in early Christianity?
Contemporary Jesuit and renowned religious historian Nicholas Branson is about to find out…and the answer will shake the foundations of the Judeo-Christian world.
It all starts with the murder of a United States Senator in a confessional, and the discovery of a strange religious document among his possessions. At the urging of his FBI friend, Branson joins the investigation. His effort to uncover the truth behind the murder draws him into the search for an eight-hundred-year-old treasure and into a web of ecclesiastical and political intrigue.
Accompanied by a beautiful, sharp-tongued research librarian, Jessica Jones, Branson follows a trail of clues, from the peaks of the awe inspiring French Pyrenees to the caves of war-torn Afghanistan. Along the way, shadowy powerful forces trail the pair, determined to keep safe a secret buried for centuries.
Buy it here from Melange Books!
This was definitely a fun, fast-paced adventure! I’ve never read the Da Vinci Code books though I have seen the movies, and there are a number of parallels with that series. The protagonist here is a leading scholar on Christianity and gets swept up in race to find some secret treasure. Nick definitely gets himself into a world of trouble as people on all sides seem to be want to kill him before he can discover whatever this treasure may be.
It was a little confusing in the beginning with so many different perspectives and very few answers to the many questions they raised, but once you get acquainted with the characters it’s much easier to follow along. Of course, you’ll still have burning questions but that’s all part of the mystery. Some of them don’t get answered, which I was a little disappointed with, but I think those may be incorporated into the upcoming books in the series.
There is a lot of history that I wasn’t familiar with so at times I felt like more explanation would’ve been helpful. The characters in the book seemed to have no trouble understanding all the new information but I was a bit lost so I read it more as a fun adventure than actually retaining everything that was being uncovered. Though I don’t fully follow the Da Vinci Code stories either, so not a big surprise here! 😛 I think if you do study religion or have a particular interest in this history, you’ll find much more to gain from this book but if not, it’s still a crazy adventure to tag along for!
The pair’s search for this treasure, which leads them from the US to Europe and Asia, actually reminded me a lot of the National Treasure movies where they constantly have to decipher new clues and find “keys” to point them in the right direction. Really, if you’re a fan of any of these kinds of adventure stories with their learning opportunities, I’d recommend checking out this book.
There are some things I didn’t like in this book, and most of that comes down to the female characters. With all this adventure, there’s only one woman who’s really involved in it. We have the Catholic church, the Jesuits, the United States government, and assassins, but all of these characters are men. I was really hoping Jessica Jones, the librarian who joins Nick on his quest, would be able to just focus on providing her knowledge for this search, but she unfortunately becomes the love interest, despite the 20-some year age difference between her and Nick. Every time she’s introduced to someone new in the story, there’s always a comment on her looks. Nick’s behaviour with her irked me the most. Though it’s never really said outright, he seems to imply that with his vow of chastity as an “almost” priest, it’s not safe for him to be in the safe room as her. He’s got a huge problem if he can’t manage to sleep in the same room as a woman without being able to control himself.
I did enjoy the adventure aspect of the book but the treatment of female character(s) really disappointed me, especially with my excitement over a librarian being involved in the action.
About the Author: Dual diagnosed* from an early age, Matthew Peters dropped out of high school at sixteen. He went on to obtain an A.A., a B.A. from Vassar College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University. He has taught various courses in a variety of disciplines throughout North Carolina. He is committed to increasing the awareness and understanding of the dual diagnosed. Conversations Among Ruins (All Things That Matter Press, 2014) is his first novel. His second novel, The Brothers’ Keepers: A Nicholas Branson Novel–Book 1 (Melange Books, 2016), is a political-religious thriller that capitalizes on his love for history and research. The second book in the Nicholas Branson series is scheduled for release by Melange Books in October, 2017. Currently, he is working on the third book in the series. He is a member of International Thriller Writers.
*The term dual diagnosed refers to someone suffering from a mood disorder (e.g., depression) and chemical dependency.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own