It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here, so of course I’m going to review a great book by author Steven M. Moore, titled Son Of Thunder. The book is quite different from most of Moore’s oeuvre (except for Rembrandt’s Angel, to which this book is a sequel). It’s art history, historical mystery, and international thriller, written in the vein of Agatha Christie’s English mysteries, and features Esther Brookstone, formerly of Scotland Yard and now retired, and Bastiann van Coevorden, the Dutch Interpol agent. That’s the twenty-first-century cast. There’s also an appearance by Italian Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli, as he helps his bishop friend track down the bones of St. John in Ephesus. And then there’s the first century cast of the Son of Thunder himself, St. John, and assorted Christians and Romans from that world, as John makes his way through the Empire to reach the burial place of Mary, the mother of Jesus, wherever that might be.
It all hinges on a painting that’s found in a piece of furniture from the fifteenth century. Is it a Botticelli? Esther is called in to authenticate the artwork, and in doing so, discovers a clue that may lead her along the path that may have been followed by Botticelli centuries ago. The mystery: will it lead to the bones of the “one Jesus loved?”
This is an extremely well-researched and well-plotted novel with familiar characters and a fun and exciting plot. Three plots, really: three stories are being told simultaneously, the timelines separated by centuries. Each was exciting and rewarding in its own way. The modern tale is a detective story, perhaps in the vein of Dan Brown, but even more it reminded me of Eric Mayer and Mary Reed’s John the Lord Chamberlain stories (set in the Roman Empire of Justinian).
I love those stories, and I loved this one also. It may be the best work I’ve read by Mr. Moore. I couldn’t put it down after a while. I just wanted to know what happened in 1st century AD, 15th century AD and 21st century AD. If I have a quibble, it’s that the parts involving Interpol that don’t directly relate to the story at hand were sort of distracting. I kept waiting for those events to tie in, but they never really did, as far as I could tell.
Because of the nature of the story and the type of characters in this novel, the pacing varies a lot. Sometimes it is straight ahead thriller. Sometimes it is introspective mystery. Each plotline called for its own subtly different style and its own pace. But in the end, it all works. The religious elements were worked into the plot seamlessly, and the art history gave it a framework to make the whole novel work. If you like historical mysteries with a touch of Dan Brown-type speculation, this is the book for you.
So what’s new with me? Not much. I still have the books you see to your right available on Amazon. Four are priced at $0.99 (THE CAVE, THE NEVER ENDING NIGHT, 14 DARK WINDOWS, THE STRIKER FILES, and DIE 6). THE INN, ODD MAN OUT, and RECIPROCAL EVIL are all priced at $2.99. Bargain reads, all of them! They have good reviews and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed if you like the type of horror thriller that I write. Please feel free to take a look!
Thanks, Scott. I’m just happy you enjoyed the novel. I’d been meaning to write it for a long time, but Esther and Bastiann had to come along to make it all work.
Bastiann’s Interpol escapades serve three purposes: (1) To show he can hold his own, (2) to show how he anguishes over Esther’s obsessions and not being able to help her, and (3) to give the reader an interlude, a pause in Esther’s quest. This and the back story about Esther’s past in MI6 also allow the reader to better understand the complexity of these two characters. Of course, the latter is evident in Rembrandt’s Angel, but I try to make all my novels, independent of their place in a series, stand-alone stories for readers.
And for readers of this blog like me, let me just say that I’ve read all Scott’s stories at the right. He helped me rediscover the horror genre. My only quibble, Scott, is that I’d like to see more stories! LOL.
Yours in reading and writing,