August Adams has failed his family before. He's sacrificed relationships in pursuit of adventure, fame, and money. Now the very lives of those he loves depend on his ability to decipher a centuries-old puzzle encrypted in the colorful hand-painted illuminations that adorn three rare Gutenberg Bibles.
It's a secret that could yield unimaginable wealth, undermine two major religions, and change the course of Western civilization. Two ruthless, ancient organizations are willing to do anything to get their hands on it. And August has the span of one transatlantic flight to figure it out.
If he fails, those he holds most dear will die. If he succeeds, he'll destroy a national treasure.
The clock ticks, the suspense mounts, and the body count rises as August pits his knowledge and his love for his family against the clock, secret societies, and even Johannes Gutenberg himself.
A thriller with great action| Posted September 29, 2008
Matt Bronleewe has taken on a very ambitious endeavor with the subject matter of his first novel, Illuminated. The premise; in the hand-painted illuminations of Johannes Gutenberg’s Bibles, lies centuries-old puzzles. A secret, that if properly deciphered, could lead to unimaginable wealth. And who better to decipher it than former archaeobibliologist, August Adams.
August, along with a recently procured Guttenberg original, boards flight 1213. He wants only to deliver the book to his client for a very lucrative fee and finally have enough money to reclaim his crumbling life. Unfortunately for August, Xandria, the charming woman seated next to him, wants the bible, too. She, however, won’t pay for it. Not in cash, anyway, but with the blood of August’s son if August doesn’t comply with her demands. She tasks August not only with giving her the book, but he must also decipher the hidden codes on her timetable.
Xandria, with a satellite phone in hand, controls the son’s kidnappers on the ground and August’s moves on the plane. While August flies high above and remains clueless to the activities on the ground, his son and ex-wife keep Xandria’s compatriots running in fast-paced suspenseful scenes.
Bronleewe succeeds in many aspects of his first novel. His action scenes are tight and fast moving. In fact, I found the first chapter written so well that it ensured I would read on. His bad guys, are the baddest. His plot is large and thrilling. His historical details are very complete, though, not an avid fan of history, I would have liked less historical detail of the bibles in the airplane scenes and more action involving August.
My favorite parts of the book were the action scenes. They kept me reading and riveted, but I that I found several of Bronleewe’s scenes with Stanley, The Cleaner, to be too gruesome and gory to read. I particularly enjoyed the scenes near the end where I got to know each of the family members and came to care for them in a way that I had not until that point. Their chemistry and family dynamics were irresistible and I would love to see a sequel with August and his family reunited and working together to solve a mystery.
Great Read!| Posted October 28, 2008
I heard about this book when it first came out but just now had a chance to read it right before book 2 came out. A great read that reads quickly. It reminds me of alot of National Treasure but deals with church history and the Guttenberg Bible instead of American history. Some of it does seem sensational but it is still a fun read. Also I liked the characters as they had some major issues/flaws that we can all relate to. I have already picked up a copy of House of Wolves (book 2) which looks just as good.