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Contrato con Dios by Juan Gómez-Jurado
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Contrato con Dios (original 2007; edition 2022)

by Juan Gómez-Jurado (Author)

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3721670,381 (3.41)5
"After fifty years in hiding, the Nazi war criminal known as the Butcher of Spiegelgrund has finally been tracked down by Father Anthony Fowler, a CIA operative and a member of the Vatican's secret service. He wants something from the Butcher--a candle covered in filigree that was stolen from a Jewish family many years before. But it isn't the gold Fowler is after. As Fowler holds a flame to the wax, the missing fragment of an ancient map that uncovers the location of the Ten Commandments given to Moses is revealed. Soon Fowler is involved in an expedition to Jordan set up by a reclusive billionaire. But there is a traitor in the group who has ties to terrorist organizations back in the United States, and who is patiently awaiting the moment to strike"--Cover, p. 2.… (more)
Member:palmero
Title:Contrato con Dios
Authors:Juan Gómez-Jurado (Author)
Info:B (2022), Edition: 001, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work Information

The Moses Expedition: A Novel by Juan Gómez-Jurado (2007)

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» See also 5 mentions

English (12)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (1)  All languages (16)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
Storyline re Ark is too well known & overplayed!! ( )
  ChrisGreenDog | Aug 20, 2023 |
Father Anthony Fowler is on a mission: to find a candle stolen from a Jewish family that contains an ancient map of where the Ten Commandments are located. No sooner does he find it than he is swept up in an archeological expedition to find the lost Ark of the Covenant, and finds himself surrounded by archeologists, an out-of-work journalist whose life he once saved, a reclusive billionaire and bloodthirsty soldiers guarding the group while they work in a remote Jordanian valley. Among them is a traitor with ties to a terrorist group in the United States, patiently waiting for the perfect moment to destroy them all.

The book is intriguing, peopled with diverse people at war with one another, and the plot is fairly face paced. At points, it was difficult to remember who was who on the doomed expedition because of the large cast of characters. Fortunately, the author provided a cast listing in the back of the book, which helped immensely.

I also found some of the storytelling clunky. For example, after certain characters are introduced, there are large chunks of backstory given that seem unnecessary (though interesting) and slow the pace of the main plot. (I don't know if this is more standard in European thrillers than American ones; if so, that explains the issue.) I also found some of the prose to be awkward. However, this is a translation, which may explain some of the awkward wording.

Even with these weaknesses, I was engrossed in the story. Gomez-Jurado uses the thriller genre to portray the brutal face of prejudice, racism, and bigotry, deftly showing how humans create enemies. We strip others of their humanity, place our own inner evils upon them, and create a non-person that we can kill without reservation or remorse. He quotes Sam Keen's poem "How to Create an Enemy":

When your icon of the enemy is complete
you will be able to kill without guilt,
slaughter without shame.

The thing you destroy will have become
merely an enemy of God, an impediment
to the sacred dialectic of history.

Something to ponder when we hear news of wars, terrorist attacks, and the slaughter of innocent people. Something to ponder, too, when we find ourselves hating others and considering them to be the enemy.
( )
  MeredithRankin | Jun 7, 2019 |
While not a book I would normally pick up I found this rather and interesting read. I enjoyed the characters quite a bit. The story was intriguing because of the different places the novel took me; from New York City, to Vienna, to Jordon. ( )
  bnbookgirl | Jul 16, 2018 |
Fr. Anthony Fowler and journalist Andrea Otero return in this sequel to GOD'S SPY. After a slow and uneven start, things settle in nicely at around the 75 page mark, or when a pivotal expedition really gets underway. What follows is an enjoyable (but not terribly original) religious thriller with nothing short of the Ark of the Covenant as its objective. Where the protagonists are concerned, I continued to enjoy Fowler immensely (even though there's not much further character development for him in this one), whereas I can't recall finding Otero this unlikable in the first book, making it hard to really root for her, as being manipulative, greedy and self-centered are not endearing personality traits. Still, I felt sorry for her for one loss, at least. As for the story itself, there were some of the usual questionable plot points that didn't really detract from the larger narrative, but they were frustrating and could have been easily avoided or remedied. In the end, a solid if unoriginal story with some weak pacing at times and some inconsequential but questionable plot moments. ( )
  jimgysin | Jun 19, 2017 |
This book starts in Vienna in 1943, two parents are attempting to find out if their eldest son is still alive after he was taken to a hospital by the Nazis. To try and get information from the doctor they offer him a gold filigree covered candle, the doctor claims that the boy is already dead and then when the parents leave the hospital he informs the SS. The parents leave behind another young son.

The story then shifts to the present day, the doctor has been hunted down as a suspected war criminal and the candle has been recovered because of course this is no ordinary candle it contains a piece of the Copper Scroll which gives the supposed location of The Ark of The Covenant. With the backing of a multi-billionaire and the Vatican a group of archeologists,mercenaries,a couple of cooks, a doctor, a reporter and a priest head off to the Jordanian desert to find it. Nobody in this group is to be trusted, as well as operatives from the CIA and Mossad they have been infiltrated by a terrorist and the mutli-billionaire is hiding something as well. The identity of the CIA operative is given fairly early on in the story but while Jurado may be trying to keep you guessing as to the identity of both the Mossad operative and the terrorist plus the multi-billionaires secret all are far to obvious.
The reporter is the lead female character and while I think that the author was trying to create a strong character what he actually created was an unlikeable bitch. I don't think it's a good sign if you keep hoping for the lea character to be killed. I might be being unfair, maybe he did create a strong character and something got lost in translation.

Overall a quick read but far too predictable.

( )
  KarenDuff | Jun 1, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
HOW TO CREATE AN ENEMY

Start with an empty canvas.
Sketch in broad outline the forms of men, women, and children.
Trace onto the face of the enemy

the greed, hatred, carelessness you dare not claim as your own.
Obscure the sweet individuality of each face.
Erase all hints of the loves, hopes, fears
that play through the kaleidoscope of every infinite heart.
Exaggerate each feature until man is metamorphosized into beast, vermin, insect.
Fill in the background with malignant figures from ancient nightmares.
When your icon of the enemy is complete
you will be able to kill without guilt, slaughter without shame.
The thing you destroy will have become merely an enemy,
an impediment to the dialectic of history.

Sam Keen
Dedication
For Matthew Thomas, a greater hero than Father Fowler.
Ai miei genitori
che scappavano sotto il tavolo per ripararsi dalle bombe
First words
Arriving at the building where a large flag with a swastika was flapping overhead, the woman could not suppress a shiver.
Quotations
E' un dato di fatto: se qualcuno ha il potere di schiacciare qualcun altro e una buona scusa, finisce per farlo.
Era un uomo umile con un'elevata considerazione di se stesso, se i due concetti sono compatibili.
Durante il volo aveva avuto il tempo per dedicarsi a un'attività a lei insolita: riflettere su se stessa. E aveva deciso che non si piaceva.
[...]L'Arca...
L'oggetto più potente della Storia. E nn a caso, soprattutto se consideriamo che la civiltà occidentale è nata con l'Arca stessa.
Avrei giurato che gli storici l facessero cominciare dall'antica Grecia.
Idiozie. Per migliaia di anni l'uomo continua ad adorare macchie di fuliggine nel buio delle caverne. Macchie che chiamano «dèi». Passa il tempo, le macchie cambino forma, dimensione e materiale, ma rimangono macchie. Finché si è rivelato ad Abramo, appena quattromila anni fa, ignoravamo che esistesse un unico Dio. Cosa sa di Abramo mia cara?
Che è il padre degli israeliti.
Gusto. E anche degli arabi. Due mele cadute dallo stesso albero, l'una accanto all'altra. Ma le due mele imparano subito a odiarsi a morte.
E questo che cosa c'entra con l'Arca?
Cinque secoli dopo essersi rivelato ad Abramo, l'Onnipotente è stanco di vedersi voltare le spalle dal suo steso popolo., Quando Mosè porta gli ebrei fuori dall'Egitto, Dio si rivela di nuovo alla sua gente. Ad appena duecentotrenta chilometri da qui, in quella direzione. E là firmano un contratto.
Mi scusi, professore, si riferisce a un impegno o a un contratto vero e proprio, come quando compri una macchina?
Al contratto definitivo. Da una parte, l'umanità si impegna a rispettare dieci semplici clausole.
I Dieci comandamenti.
Dall'altra, Dio. Che si impegna a concedere all'uomo la vita eterna. E' il momento più importante della Storia, il momento in cui la vita acquisisce trascendenza. Tremilacinquecento anni dopo, ogni essere umano avrà quel contratto inciso nella coscienza. Alcuni lo chiameranno «legge naturale», altri ne metteranno in dubbio l'esistenza o il contenuto. Uccideranno e moriranno a causa delle sue interpretazioni. Ma il momento in cui Mosè ricevette le Tavole della Legge dalle mani di Dio segna l'inizio della nostra civiltà.
Si frugò addosso e sfiorò con le dita il frammento di pietra, non più grande del palmo della sua mano. [...] Sulla superficie erano incisi profondi simboli dalle linee perfette, che nessuna mano umana aveva tracciato.
Due lacrime gli rigarono il volto, scavando un solco nella maschera di polvere, mentre i polpastrelli seguivano quei segni e le labbra si trasformavano in parole.
Lo tirzach.
Non uccidere.
In quell'istante chiese perdono.
E fu perdonato.
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Wikipedia in English (3)

"After fifty years in hiding, the Nazi war criminal known as the Butcher of Spiegelgrund has finally been tracked down by Father Anthony Fowler, a CIA operative and a member of the Vatican's secret service. He wants something from the Butcher--a candle covered in filigree that was stolen from a Jewish family many years before. But it isn't the gold Fowler is after. As Fowler holds a flame to the wax, the missing fragment of an ancient map that uncovers the location of the Ten Commandments given to Moses is revealed. Soon Fowler is involved in an expedition to Jordan set up by a reclusive billionaire. But there is a traitor in the group who has ties to terrorist organizations back in the United States, and who is patiently awaiting the moment to strike"--Cover, p. 2.

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