The action in Alan Jacobson’s “The Lost Codex” starts in 930 A.D., as the first officially-sanctioned Bible is compiled. Fast-forward a millennium to 1953, and half the manuscript is stolen while in transit from the Middle East. Almost simultaneously, another ancient Scroll is discovered near the Dead Sea and is promptly stolen also.
In the modern world, the two mysterious manuscripts are at the center of a tug-of-war for political control and religious extremism that threatens millions of lives in the West.
FBI profiler Karen Vail makes her third appearance in this novel, but fans of the character will be disappointed that her presence is relatively smaller than that in the previous books. That’s because ‘The Lost Codex’ isn’t about hunting serial killers, but religious extremists (in a way still serial killers, though).
The real action starts when Karen shoots a man who killed an FBI agent, causing him to explode. This leads to the uncovering of a massive plot to attack several Western cities by Islamic extremists, and the OpSIG (Operations Support Intelligence Group) team is called up. It comprises of Vail, Special Forces veteran Hector DeSantos and ex-Mossad terrorism expert, Aaron ‘Uzi’ Uziel. Former Palestinian Mohammad ‘Mo’ El-Fahad of the CIA is thrown into the team, forcing the Israeli and Palestinian to work together.
The pace varies through the book as Jacobson weaves a tale interspersed with snippets of history and the geopolitical intricacies of the Middle East from which the terrorist plot was born. The bad guys don’t wear black hats, though, and the story explores the ‘an enemy of my enemy is my friend’ approach that has driven political and religious power since ancient times.
Jacobson does an excellent job of revealing bits of the puzzle at the right time, and throwing red herrings into the mix to keep you guessing. Coupled with an ending that will hit most readers out of the blue, this is a recommended read.