Whatever happened to the treasures of the Jerusalem Temple?  Their fate is shrouded in mystery.
 
Former art historian Michael Grammaticus, Jr. has inherited an ancient and dangerous secret—and it seems he is the last to know.  When his parents are killed under suspicious circumstances, he travels to Rome to investigate, and the clues lead him to a fascinating world of ancient art, medieval manuscripts, and a dangerous mix of religion and international politics. Descended from an endless line of Greek scholars, he can’t resist being drawn into their cryptic world, and soon the same relentless forces that destroyed his father begin to hound Michael as well.  He discovers not only that his father had been an outspoken advocate for Palestinian Christians, but also that one of his ancestors was the bearer of a secret that continues to haunt his family—a riddle regarding the whereabouts of the coveted treasure of Herod’s temple.  This journey of discovery also becomes one of faith, as the cynical and disillusioned Michael undergoes a harrowing tribulation that leads him not just to the reasons for his father’s death, but to something far greater than the temple treasure itself.
 
A delight for history buffs, lovers of detective fiction, and anyone who ever wondered what happened to that treasure!
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Here's what people are saying about The Treasure of Israel...
 
"...One part historical mystery, one part modern thriller, and altogether a great read...Christian fiction at its best."
                                      --Long Island Council of Churches

"An incredible story that will keep you on the edge of your seat!"
--Greg Holmes, Revival Nation Publishing

"Not since the early works of Morris West has a novel more accurately described the interplay of tensions between the religious world and Western society." --Christian Newswire
 
From Amazon.com customer reviews...
 
"Fast-paced, gripping and thoroughly enjoyable. Total escape to a world parallel to The DaVinci Code, deftly layered with humor, insight, history and adrenaline. Highly recommended."
 
"Powerful & Intelligent Literature - Couldn't put it down!"
 
"Had me on the edge of my seat, and the surprise ending was not only exciting but the perfect conclusion to a book that satisfied my every expectation from a good novel."
 
"The historical accuracy is astounding, the writing is superb, the idea is creative and original. He claims his space and has his own unique style and nails it. He uses flashbacks and an expressive narrative that builds the kind of tension that's needed to forge a "sit on the edge of your seat" suspense thriller!"
 
"One of those books that you sacrifice sleep for, just to get through 'one more chapter.'"
 
"The dialogue is smart and sassy and hilarious."
 
"I found the characters' take on the modern Middle East and the plight of Arab Christians refreshing - and long overdue."
Editorial Review:
 
The great Jewish rising of AD 66 gave Jewish extremists control over virtually all of Judea and the city of Jerusalem.  Sensing that the extremists could become enemies of the empire, Rome, in its customary response to threats, laid siege to Jerusalem, looting and destroying the ancient city in AD 70.
 
This is where S. J. Munson’s fascinating novel The Treasure of Israelbegins.  From there, it leaps over centuries to give us the book’s flashforward/ flashback format.  It also gives us the principal character, a retired art historian named Michael Grammaticus. Descended himself from a line of academics, Grammaticus’ parents have died in an automobile accident. As the days pass, the possibility arises that the accident might have been murder. This knowledge takes Grammaticus into Europe in his search for the truth.
 
Like Eric Ambler’s innocent Englishmen, Grammaticus enters an atmosphere in Europe that seems as sinister as the actual events. The choked, ancient cities that lie between Notre Dame and Istanbul’s Sophia are places created in the grim collision of empires. Their idea of truth and justice and the completion of moral tasks
isn't quite the same as Grammaticus', so that he finds it nearly impossible to get helpful answers in his search.
 
He also becomes entangled in his family’s association down through the centuries with the biggest heist of all: the looting of Herod’s treasure from the Temple before the building was destroyed in AD 70. The fact that Herod's treasure is Hitchcock's classic maguffin, designed to move the action along before it fades away, shouldn't detract from its power. Individuals have killed and been killed for the treasure, so it seems real enough. But is it?
 
This is a question the author answers, along with many others, before the novel ends.  Not since the early works of Morris West has a novel more accurately described the interplay of tensions between the religious world and Western society. And Munson does this with a deft hand, a masterly understanding of his subject and a sly sense of humor that keeps the reader guessing -- and reading.
 
--Ralph Stewart Smith, author