January 2, 2011

"The Topkapi Secret" by Terry Kelhawk - Book Review

The Topkapi Secret: A Novel
If it's not worth dying for, it's not worth living for.

Angela Hall, a Berkley English professor, thought she was accepting a summer research opportunity in Turkey. Through her travels in the Middle East she becomes entangled with a man determined to reveal the Topkapi Secret to the world, even if it costs him his life. 

The Koran is the most sacred text for a billion Muslims on the planet. Palestinian Koranic researcher, Mohammad Atareek is on a quest to determine if the words of the Koran are indeed what they claim to be - the unchanged word of Allah. Someone is determined to keep his research from being published. As more and more researchers face suspicious deaths, Atareek is intent on tracking down the murderer and revealing the secret to the world.

Angela and Mohammad set out on an exciting adventure that spans Israel, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, and more. Will they discover who's behind the murders or will they take their suspicions to their graves.

I am fascinated by Middle Eastern culture. The author does a superb job of detailing different aspects of Middle Eastern life - from food, to dress, to appropriate social interactions. Rich in historical detail and full of vivid descriptions, you will feel like you are taking the journey with Angela and Mohammad. The plot is riveting and loaded with action and intrigue. I was very interested in the sections related to the history of the Koran. As a student of world religious, I enjoyed learning not only about the different codex, but also the history behind the initial canonization and publication of the Koran. I certainly learned a lot. You can tell the author did a substantial amount of research on the story.

Don't worry, it's not an academic paper disguised as a novel. The characters are well-developed and interesting. There's plenty of romance and close-escapes. I had a hard time putting it down. If you like a good espionage story, you'll enjoy the Topkapi Secret.

Fair warning for my more conservative readers, I would probably give the book a PG-13 rating for a brief episode of strong language at the beginning of the book and some sensuality.

You can check out the book's Facebook page by clicking here


*I received a complimentary copy of the book from Glass Road PR. I was not obligated to give a positive review of the book. The opinions expressed are my own thoughts.

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