The US Review of Books - Received January 5, 2010
Reviewed by Sue Johnson (no relation)
"Praise be to the Creator of All.
Praise be unto this Life
For she is the one foretold
To be the Messenger of Hope.
She is the Anointed One
To bring the Message of Remembrance
Of who we are.
Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice!" (quote from Secrets of the Magdalene Scrolls)
Dan Brown opened the door to religious artifacts with his book The Da Vinci Code. Bettye Johnson blows that door off its hinges in Secrets of the Magdalene Scrolls. After visiting France, the author became fascinated with Black Madonnas, which forms the basis for her wonderful new novel centering around two women hiking the French Pyrenees Mountains and discovering ancient scrolls in a hidden cave. Bringing an American Businessman and a disillusioned priest into their secret, the women hear an interpretation of the scrolls. It appears to be the life self-scribed story of Mary Magdalene.
As the two women and their companions continue to interpret the scrolls, they become fearful that the scrolls will fall into the wrong hands. The ladies begin a cross-country trek to insure that the scrolls are placed with the proper authorities, so that they may be received and enjoyed by all. What follows is a story of passion, betrayal, and mystery told in a page-turning style.
Although this is a work of fiction, truth is found in the research on display here--truth and the seekers of truth. The novel is packed full of historical references, but the fictional elements ease the delivery of the overly intellectual passages. There is also a bit of the outspoken to please the curious mind. In the end, this is an adventurous and thought-provoking story.
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