Shannon, about to call it quits wither her excavation of a possible site of great historical importance, almost on a whim visited the nearby current-day building with hopes of discovering ancient church records. But when Father Athanasius opened a precious copy of Eusebius's Historia Ekklesiastica to where Eusebius credits his original source, Hegesippus, the 5 pages of parchment serving as a bookmark stole her attention...5 pages that could bring sweeping changes to church history. With Jon, her husband and Harvard professor, the two poured over the Greek manuscript with UV and digital photo technology, to find that this was indeed Hegisippus' work, with shocking references to other documentation and facts. Curiosity peaking, their plans to investigate further get put on hold when an incorrect translation in Jon's book ignites worldwide demonstrations, violence, death threats, and a fatwa on his head. When Jon's friend, the world's foremost theologian in Islam, challenges Jon to a debate, there is little he can do but accept, despite the fact that attempts to support the Bible would be seen as discrediting Islam and the Qur'an, both held in sacrosanct awe. In a debate of worldwide importance, double standards would mean Jon would lose, even if he won. With CIA protectors, "Click and Clack", Jon proceeded to the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople for the debate. Just days before the onslaught, while taking a break to investigate archives, Jon loses his focus on the debate to a tome that Shannon discovered askew on a bulging shelf in the geniza, a room in the basement where old manuscripts are held with hopes of restoring, but more likely, to be held in disrepair or even weeded out. Further death threats, discoveries, and betrayals and suspense make this book impossible to set aside, and the conclusion does not disappoint.
I first became enamored with Paul Maier's writing in "Pontius Pilate", a book I read and reread many times. In The Constantine Codex, Maier enlightens the reader with his vast knowledge of places, times, and biblical history, often through friendly, though unnatural, banter between Jon and Shannon. While those communications did not work for me, that should not dissuade readers. It is a great book that will captivate from beginning to end.
This is my honest review of the Kindle formatted ARC from Tyndale House, through NetGalley.