The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is one of the most revered religious sites in the entire world. Its potential mysteries have fascinated the world for centuries, and more recent popular culture has linked it with the legendary Knights Templar of the Crusades. In author Liam Fialkov’s latest thriller, THE NEWTON CODE, the Temple Mount is once again the scene of international intrigue.
The story takes off quickly when journalism professor Michael is contacted by his close friend Stewart McPherson about an article idea. The topic concerns an obscure doomsday cult obsessed with Sir Isaac Newton. While most of the world knows Newton as the man who suffered an apple to the head in order to discover gravity, the cult that McPherson is after is obsessed with Newton’s theories concerning the Temple Mount and its predecessor, the Temple of Solomon. McPherson worries that the cult could set in motion a cataclysmic event involving ancient mathematics, the Internet, and the major world religions.
Michael is intrigued and decides to investigate the matter as both a journalism professor and as a part-time spy. His investigation leads him to connect with the cult, and for many pages it’s left up to readers to decide whether the followers of Newton are death-worshipping radicals out to cause global genocide or well-intentioned idealists. As for Michael, his journey in the Middle East and beyond is full of strange characters, sultry women (which is difficult as Michael is a married man), and interlocking parts that form an often hard-to-comprehend whole.
Fialkov is a fantastic writer, and THE NEWTON CODE moves with deft speed. The chapters are brisk and easy to follow, despite the fact that they often jump back and forth between vastly different time periods (for instance, the second chapter is set in Jerusalem in 1002 BC). But Fialkov makes the novel’s complexity work to his advantage. The cult seems credible, Michael is a believable (and sympathetic) character, and so much of the story relies on actual history. The other power of THE NEWTON CODE is its ability to keep the reader in suspense until the very end. While the plot is known half-way through the book, the eventual results of the penultimate conclusion cannot be guessed, even by the most astute reader or fan of the genre.
Liam Fialkov’s THE NEWTON CODE is a perfect mystery thriller for readers interested in counter-factual history, religion, science, and current politics. Few novels pack as much punch as this potboiler.
~Benjamin Welton for IndieReader