Item description for Ancient Lights (Watchman Diaries) by Ralph D. Curtin...
When an earthquake rocks the Afro-Syrian fault line running along the Dead Sea, a mysterious cave is opened. In that cave a young Bedouin makes a monumental discovery--a sealed urn containing multicolored gems that are the Urim and Thummim, the ancient revelatory lights of Israel used by the High Priest to determine the will of God.
You will quickly be thrust into the conspiracy and subplots that develop as a result of this amazing discovery. No one who knows about the "gems" is safe. Everyone is fighting to get their hands on the Ancient Lights, including Krasnoff, the Chief Inspector of the Israeli Antiquities Authority, his partner, Nathan Cohen, and the evil Kavidas and Stein, who are the masterminds behind Masterlink, a global financial network destined to be the vehicle that launches a cashless society.
The final showdown is fact-paced and suspense-filled as both sides call on supernatural powers in order to gain control of the Ancient Lights.
Book Description After an earthquake rocks the Afro-Syrian fault line running along the Dead Sea, a young Bedouin makes a monumental discovery in a newly opened cave--a sealed urn containing 12 multicolor gems that are the Urim and Thummin, the ancient lights of Israel.
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Studio: Resource Publications (OR)
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.99" Width: 6.36" Height: 0.9" Weight: 1.26 lbs.
Release Date Oct 31, 2006
Publisher Resource Publications (OR)
ISBN 159752915X ISBN13 9781597529150
Reviews - What do customers think about Ancient Lights (Watchman Diaries)?
Reasonably good read Sep 21, 2007
I love historical novels, particularly Biblical ones. And even when that "history" is in the future, it can capture my attention -- especially when it is based on much fact.
As a result, I was enticed by "Ancient Lights", and what (to me) is a fairly new concept -- namely, the discovery of the Urim and Thummim of the Old Testament. The UT represented the voice of God -- i.e., a way in which God spoke to mankind, predominantly by answering questions posed to Him. (I'll stop there, before I make the UT sound like a Magic 8-Ball.)
Roughly the first half of the book held my attention quite well. The story was put together in an interesting manner, and there was a lot of potential for it to go in one of several different directions.
However, unexpectedly the story took a twist that moved it from focusing on a good, geniunely new story, and fell back into what is becoming a common motif among Christian fiction writers now -- the "end-times your-guess-is-as-good-as-mine" tale of world dominance, persecution, supernatural powers, etc. And that's unfortunate, because... well, it's been done. And overdone.
"Ancient Lights" had the potential to be different, to be unique. Sure, there's a bit of the Jerry Jenkins (Left Behind) in the writing, as there are strong shades of Frank Peretti. But I felt that it "sold out" to the army of "Left Behind" lemmings -- those who aren't satisfied with 12- and 14-volume tomes.
The story did keep me enticed. In addition to the intrigue created by the basic plot line, there was the standard romance, the "hero out of nowhere", even some occasional dry humor. But it was all pervaded by a feeling that I can't exactly put into words -- simply that there was no depth to it.
I'm not sure why I felt that way, but it stayed with me through the entire book. Perhaps it was the lack of detail. While I'm not a big fan of the "Left Behind" series (and I went to school with Jerry Jenkins, and love his writing), reading those books brings a richness of depth and detail -- like reading (and I hate to use this analogy, simply because everyone else does) a Tom Clancy novel. No one does it better than Clancy -- and it's that kind of detail that draws me into a story.
"Ancient Lights" went along "telling a story"... but never drew me in. It was a fine story; but through it all, I was always aware that I was sitting in my chair, reading a story. It was not immersive, as other stories I've read have been. Those are the "you are there" kind, where you temporarily forget what's going on around you; you can hear the sounds, smell the smells, feel the atmosphere. It didn't happen for me in this book.
And I can't really explain why; I've never been able to put my finger on exactly what it is about one story or another that will (or won't) grab me, draw me in, and immerse me in the drama. Perhaps part of it is whether the scenes, people, and story are "stereotypical" or not -- whether they're caricatured. It's in those stories where you can basically predict exactly what's going to happen, and how -- because they're artificial, they're superficial.
Again, I'll repeat that this is a great story; don't misunderstand me. It provided me with a few evenings of a good read. It just stayed outside the boundary of being truly immersive, detailed, "real".
While I've been a student of eschatology for over 35 years, I have to give credit to the author for doing a lot of research. Despite my background of reading on this subject, I still learned a lot about some of the events and items portrayed. So there's a lot to be garnered here. And for that alone, I almost gave it a 4-star rating. And I'm sure that there will be others -- many others, hopefully -- who find it more fitting, and rate it higher.
Bottom line: Would I read another novel by the author? Probably. Although I would look much more carefully through the book -- skimming through it first -- before purchasing it. But it's a good read, especially for those who haven't yet been completely mind-numbed by the overabundance of "end-times" novels lately.
What a read! May 29, 2003
What a read! I so enjoyed this book. It was a real page turner. The research was extensive and thorough. I am an avid reader of biblical novels and this is one of the best I've read. I can't wait for the next one.
Ancient Lights: the Watchman Diaries May 29, 2003
When is the sequel coming out! Although this is not Ralph's first novel or non-fiction writing, it is by far his best! Compared to the Left Behind Series, a series more designed for readers who are familiar with Eschatology, Ancient Lights takes the reader from a place of perhaps knowing very little about the Bible, Eschatology and the study of end times to a place of searching the Bible to learn more. Ancient Lights held my interest from beginning to end...in fact, I did not want it to end, and can't wait for the sequel! A MUST READ!
Ancient Lights May 19, 2003
I was given this book as a gift as it is written by a local pastor. I was pleasantly surprised at the compelling story written with extensive knowledge of eschatology, biblical archaeology as well as current day Israel. This book reads like a Tom Clancy novel as I was left wondering how the author could possibly have such detailed knowledge. I highly recommend this book!
Ancient Lights May 13, 2003
This is a fast moving, provoking story with suspense, thrilling adventure and truth. I was left wanting more.