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Sword of God
Payne and Jones series, book 2

by Chris Kuzneski

      The young Korean boy heard screams echoing from the hill. Tortured screams that traveled down to his room night after night. The bloody scent kicks the boy into an adventure and a horrible discovery. The mythical story of evil, Pe-Ui Je Dan, is not only real, but the boy's findings guarantee even more death to the island of Jeju.

Shari Shasmeen, a respected religious archaeologist, doesn't hesitate to accept her new position in the tunnels beneath the sacred city of Mecca. What may be considered strikes against her —she is an unmarried, half-Muslim, American female— do not faze her secretive boss, who finances the excavation. After all, the secrets of buried Islamic scrolls warrant a dedicated researcher like Shari. When a messenger is murdered outside the tunnel, the site shuts down. But Shari doesn't want to leave. How can she leave her work unprotected? She has no choice when new guards descend on the site and imprison her. The historic research is stripped from the tunnel, but Shari can only hope to survive the beatings.

Meanwhile, Jonathon Payne and David Jones investigate the disappearance of former MANIAC, Captain Trevor Schmidt. With an agenda of revenge and no stop orders, Schmidt may be involved in a self-appointed torture operation. Their mission becomes more complex when Payne and Jones quickly learn that Schmidt may be the one imprisoned and tortured. Payne and Jones find a location bleeding with DNA but no bodies. Who are the victims of this gory crime scene? The right answer will prevent international chaos and a safeguard a world religion.

Author Chris Kuzneski starts with a bang and captures readers in a race through unseen twists to a breathless ending. Each subplot weaves into a grand scale climax of greed, revenge, murder and religious ideals. Returning characters Payne and Jones fight danger with humor and extraordinary physical and mental prowess. The plot deals with controversial themes like Islam and terrorists. Controversy aside, Kuzneski nicely plants secondary characters and a plot twist to even out the story, which could have turned into a stereotypical bad-Arab, good-American tale in the hands of another author. Sword of God proves to be a powerful and scary story, given our world's issues of terrorism and global responsibility and Kuzenski's skill of blending fact and fiction. Read Sword of God, and brag to your friends that you read Kuzneski before he became a household name.

Highly recommended.

The Book

September 2007
0515143561 / 9780515143560
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The Reviewer

Jennifer Akers
Reviewed 2007
© 2007