I, Judas The 5th Gospel by Bob Mayer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
What if Judas is still alive, hidden away in the jungles of the Amazon, waiting for the Second Coming?
As a massive object appears at the edge of the solar system heading directly toward Earth, the Brotherhood heralds it as Wormwood, one of the signs the Rapture and it’s just seven days away. They have been preparing to implement the Great Commission as designated by Jesus—where everyone on the planet must hear the word of God before the end in order to be saved. They will use advanced technology to send that message directly into the minds of every human on the planet. The question is: will the message kill everyone who gets it or save them?
Believing him to be the anti-Christ, they also send a team of assassins up the Amazon to find the Great Betrayer and kill him.
Opposing the Brotherhood is the Triumvirate of the Illuminati. They believe they must stop the Great Commission and also they try to stop the assassination team. At the same time they rush to gather nuclear weapons and launch missiles into space to divert the Intruder, as they call the object.
Two survivors do finally make it to Judas, and he tells them a story, the true story of what happened over two millennia ago.
As the object nears Earth, both sides become locked in a world-wide battle for the future of the human race, as Judas prepares in the jungle for the Second Coming.
Which is not at all what anyone expects.
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As is typical with anything from Bob Mayer (also writing as Robert Doherty) this book delivers an action-filled ride as the world faces annihilation by a massive object bearing down on Earth from space. The one who is pivotal in determining the planet's fate is none other than two thousand year old Judas Iscariot, hiding deep inside the Amazon jungle waiting for his time to arrive. Judas has been "cursed" by Jesus to walk the earth until His second coming, but the hows and whys are not as one would expect. It's a departure from traditional Christian thought on the matter of end-time events, but if you can cope with that you're in for an interesting and tense ride. The book covers only a few days, but it's a very eventful few days.
Anyone familiar with Mayer's work like the Area 51 or Atlantis series will be familiar with how he deftly weaves into his stories a combination of history and mythology with military tech and action, and this book is exactly that. I always enjoy this sort of story, reminiscent of the intrigue and mystery of Dan Brown fused with some military coolness like Dale Brown or Tom Clancy. Also in there are a few sci-fi elements as well, much like Mayer's other work, and I'd wager that most techno thriller fans could probably get into this book.
The players in the book are not all that deep or complex, yet are developed enough for the purposes of the story, which is another characteristic of Mayer's work that I like. The cast is a good range of people from those with noble intentions and moral fibre through to complete and utter bastards who display fanatical devotion to their respective causes, willing to be stopped by nothing or no one to achieve their goals. Slightly cliché, yes, but it works well for this sort of thing. I didn't latch onto any particular character like I normally do with books, but had my definite favourites, including one player who turned out to be the key component to the whole story, and not in a way that I had forseen.
It's certainly a fun read, no doubt about it, I had no trouble getting back into it for another session, and it came to a reasonably satisfying conclusion. The last quarter of the book really flies by, and i had to stop for air a few times, the pace was so quick. A minor niggle with the Kindle version that I read is the relatively high number text errors, these mostly being the substitution of incorrect words, i.e. "Atlantis" ocean, "Jesus" where Judas should have been mentioned, and other minor words. It certainly seems to me that it was software doing the spelling and grammar checking. They're not major errors, but enough to slightly upset the reading rhythm of an otherwise fast flowing story. Mayer's use of a more "indie" style of publishing is evident in this. But, overall it's enjoyable and a definite fun read that anyone who likes fast paced yarns with a bit of intrigue will enjoy.
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