I’ve been in a reading rut lately – not that anything is wrong with what I’ve been reading, but it’s all very similar. I’m used to reading uber eclectically – a campy horror at the beginning of the week, followed by a sappy love story, followed by a quirky YA contemporary. Except lately I’ve mostly been reading the same few genres. Mostly books I’ve really enjoyed, but I’ve still been missing that spark…
Know what can get you out of a reading rut?
A high paced action thriller.
Which is why I was so happy to pick up the ARKANE series by J.F. Penn.
Pentecost (Arkane #1)
by J.F. Penn (Joanna Penn)
Blurb: 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.
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, PENTECOST is a fast-paced thriller that explores the edges of faith against a backdrop of early Christian history, archaeology and psychology.
Muse Kristen’s Thoughts
Secret KJ fact: I am OBSESSED with the Indiana Jones movies. (Not counting the last one, because no.) So the thought of reading a book with a character like Indiana Jones, but female had me bouncing for joy. I didn’t always relate to her, but I did admire her. I’m drawn to novels with strong female protagonists, and found Morgan Sierra to fit the bill. Morgan Sierra is pretty kick-ass…or at least she used to be before she gave up her Special-Ops life to live a more quiet life in England. Funny thing about living a quiet life is no one ever expects you to have a past. What I loved most about Morgan is that she’s an intelligent heroine – I didn’t spend the novel yelling at her actions, or cursing her choices.
If a female Indiana Jones met THE DA VINCI CODE, you’d get PENTECOST. It’s an exciting opening to a series, but would work well enough as a stand alone as well. (You guys know how I feel about that!) Like The Da Vinci Code, the story is woven through religious history, creating a fictional prophecy that needs to be unraveled so that the heroine can save the day – and her family. This blend of fact and fiction seems to heighten the feel of adventure in the story for the reader.
While being a story involving religion, religion doesn’t become a central theme. There’s no browbeating, preaching, or really any hints of what the author’s personal religious beliefs are. I found this important – and impressive – as I can’t read any book that feels like the author is preaching to me, whether I agree or not.
High paced action? Check.
Strong, well-crafted characters? Check.
Adventure and excitement? Check.
All and all, I’d call this an intellectually exciting read. I had a hard time putting this book down – even when I had to read books that I had specific deadlines for.
Stay tuned – I’m about to start PROPHECY (Arkane #2), and I’ll be telling y’all about it!
About The Author: JF Penn
Oxford educated, British born J.F.Penn has traveled the world in her study of religion and psychology. She brings these obsessions as well as a love for thrillers and an interest in the supernatural to her writing.
Her fast-paced ARKANE thrillers weave together historical artifacts, secret societies, global locations, violence, a kick-ass protagonist and a hint of the supernatural.