Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pentecost / Joanna Penn

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Thriller

Approximate word count: 70-75,000 words

Kindle US:
YES UK: YES Nook: YES Smashwords: YES Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


Based in London, England, Joanna Penn is a blogger, speaker, and business consultant. Although this is her first novel, she has previously written three non-fiction books. For more, visit her website.


Each of the Apostles took stones from Jesus’ tomb after his resurrection. These stones, which have special powers, were passed down through the generations via “Keepers,” who kept the powers and the locations of the stones secret. Someone is tracking down the Keepers and murdering them for the stones.


Pentecost combines the ancient (traditional religious history along with some purely fictional additions) with secret organizations, a touch of academia, and some cutting-edge science, to construct a thriller plot that feels like a Dan Brown creation.

The protagonist, Morgan Sierra, splits her time between private practice as a clinical psychologist specializing in issues related to religion and as an academic, lecturing at Oxford University. She is happy with her life and only reluctantly pulled in to assist a secret government organization who needs her expertise. Morgan takes the reader on a fast-paced quest around the world as she struggles to meet an immovable deadline. The author does an excellent job with a plot that weaves a broad range of the world’s religious history and settings from around the world into story that, while far from simple, doesn’t overwhelm the reader with its complexity.


The author uses UK spelling conventions.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four stars


Tiffany L. Duhart said...

I follow Joanna's blog and respect her very much for what she does. I admire her a lot and am glad to see a review on her book, which I have not yet read, but am thinking about it even though I don't like religious fiction.

BooksAndPals said...

Tiffany, I'm not sure I would call it religious fiction although I guess it depends on what that means to you. I don't like books where religion is a large part of the book and the reason for it being there is to preach to the reader. Especially if they paint characters who conform to a certain set of beliefs as good and those who don't as bad.

Religion in this book is used more as a historical context and a hook for certain plot points. It never feels like it is there to convert you to or make you fell good for believing in any particular set of beliefs. A fair amount of the the religious back story is pure speculation and clearly not true. While I can understand that might still be too much religious content for some, it isn't really that bad, at least IMO.

Anonymous said...

I agree that this isn't religious fiction, in the way that Da Vinci code isn't really either.

I can't agree with the review, though. This book was very disappointing - the plot thin, especially in the second half with the series of "discoveries" that occur with no effort or intrigue. The "love interest" sub-plot is unbearable.

Joanna's blog is great - this book is a dud.