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The Temple Mount Code

"The Temple Mount Code" by Charles Brokaw, Forge, $25.99, 352 pages, $25.99

And now comes a sophisticated Indiana Jones.

Thomas Lourdes is a scholar, an adventurer and one of the world's leading linguists. He has had two previous escapades in books by Charles Brokaw, and here he is trying to find an ancient text that holds a world-shattering secret.

Lourdes is a womanizing, handsome (naturally) world traveler who has been summoned from his Harvard classrooms to Jerusalem, where an old friend has found the text. But first he must escape from a threatened archaeological dig in China. Which he does, with bullets flying.

When he finally reaches Jerusalem, he finds his friend murdered and home ransacked. The Code is missing.

The Temple Mount Code is supposed to be a dangerous, secret document that will allow whoever has it to rule all of Islam and, thus, wage a global war against all infidels. The Iranian Supreme Ruler imam is racing Lourdes for the artifact, and this sets up a great conflict with all sorts of traps, treacherous encounters and dangers.

Brokaw writes a "wow" thriller -- but with a deep understanding of his subject. He, too, is a scholar and academic, a meticulous researcher and highly knowledgeable of the Holy Land. He is an accomplished linguist and brings a lifetime of study to his works.

It doesn't hurt that he also is a gifted writer who makes lively books.

Francis Moul, Ph.D., is an environmental historian.

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