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The Last Ember    by Daniel Levin order for
Last Ember
by Daniel Levin
Order:  USA  Can
Riverhead, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Pat Elliott

Who was the last princess of Jerusalem? Was Flavius Josephus a traitor or a patriarch? Where is the Arch of Titus located? Find all the answers in Daniel Levin's intriguing book The Last Ember. In my opinion it surpasses The Da Vinci Code and The Adventures of Indiana Jones, although all three deal with the same subjects.

Jonathan Marcus is brought to Rome by his law firm to defend in court a client's right to a fragment of a first century stone map. He discovers a message in the map that reveals information about Jerusalem's most precious artifact, The Tabernacle Menorah. His law firm orders him to keep silent about his discovery.

A former classicist and student at the American Academy in Rome, Jonathan's thesis was about Flavius Josephus. He was about to prove Josephus was not a traitor to Israel when he wrote the glowing biographies of Titus the King of Rome. Jonathan could not finish his thesis due to an accident in the underground tunnels of the Coliseum. He cannot deny the inscription he has decoded, believing it to be a clue to the lost Temple Menorah.

With Dr. Travia, Jonathan follows the secret messages left by Jewish slaves brought to Rome 2000 years ago when the Romans sacked Israel. Their research is impeded by law enforcement, by illegal excavations beneath the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and under the Coliseum in Rome. Not really knowing who their friends and enemies are, the two persevere as they study ancient maps, and coded messages leading them deeper and deeper into intrigue and danger.

I loved this book. It is unique in that it successfully weaves ancient subjects and current projects to protect religious artifacts into an exciting and fully believable story. It had me running to the computer to research Berenice, the last princess of Jerusalem, the Arch of Titus, and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 CE by Rome. Although long a Bible student, I found myself rereading God's instructions for construction of the Temple Menorah.

I now have renewed interest in visiting Israel again and Rome for the first time. Of course, I want Daniel Levin as my tour guide.

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