Review: Stone of Fire, by J. F. Penn

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Stone of Fire by J. F. Penn
Published by The Creative Penn Limited on November 19, 2015
Genre(s): fiction, action, adventure, mystery, thriller, suspense, religion
Format & Pages: e-book, 226
Find on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

A power kept secret for 2000 years. A woman who stands to lose everything.

India. When a nun is burned alive on the sacred ghats of Varanasi, and the stone she carried is stolen, an international hunt is triggered for the relics of the early church.

Forged in the fire and blood of martyrs, the Pentecost stones have been handed down through generations of Keepers who kept their power and locations secret.

Until now.

The Keepers are being murdered, the stones stolen by those who would use them for evil in a world transformed by religious fundamentalism.

Oxford University psychologist Morgan Sierra is forced into the search when her sister and niece are held hostage. She is helped by Jake Timber from the mysterious ARKANE, a British government agency specializing in paranormal and religious experience. Morgan must risk her own life to save her family, but will she ultimately be betrayed?

From ancient Christian sites in Spain, Italy and Israel to the far reaches of Iran and Tunisia, Morgan and Jake must track down the stones through the myths of the early church in a race against time before a new Pentecost is summoned, this time powered by the fires of evil.

The first in the ARKANE series, STONE OF FIRE is a fast-paced, action-packed thriller that explores the edges of faith against a backdrop of early Christian history, archaeology and psychology.

Previously published as PENTECOST.

I discovered this as a free ebook for my nook and upon reading the description, downloaded it immediately. Upon starting it, though, I found myself having a hard time getting into it, re-reading the first chapter several times over the course of a few weeks. Once I got through the first few chapters, the momentum of the story grew and pulled me in.

Compelling and fast paced, this book was well researched and well written, weaving fiction through history and psychology in a way that left me wanting to know more about the subjects. I appreciated the author’s note at the end, where she shares the actual research that prompted her story.

My biggest issue with this book was the characters. They all seemed to be not fully fleshed  out – perhaps because they will be further developed in later books in the series. I found Morgan to be very unlikable and hard to relate to, and the chemistry between her and Jake seemed forced.

That being said, I will most likely continue on in this series to see where it goes. Not one of my favorites, but an enjoyable and fairly quick read. If you are a fan of The Da Vinci Code or Indiana Jones, this might be right up your alley.

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