The Lazarus Smile
J. Christoph Amberger
Secret Archives Press
Amberger couldn’t have chosen a more controversial person to base his conspiracy on than Saul of Tarsus, otherwise known as Saint Paul. Paul, the Apostle, was by all accounts a very complicated man. He was a renowned world traveler and was opposed to many of the Christian Laws. He suffered from epilepsy, was a life-long bachelor who harbored a fiery temper, was impulsive and impassioned in the extreme and never truly learned to harness his ever-changing mood swings. Now add the concept that Paul may have been a double-agent for the Roman Emperor and a believable conspiracy takes shape. (Note to fans of Biblical history: Paul himself does not appear as a true character in this novel but only as a catalyst to base the controversy on.)
In “The Lazarus Smile” Amberger gives credence to the saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” For three simple words may change the course of world events forever. I’ll leave it to the reader to discover what those words might be (and the how’s and why’s.) Suffice it to say that the idea is sound and makes for a great mystery and a solid conspiracy.
The historical fiction is convincingly written and very believable. You’ll visit Nazi Germany in World War II, the Roman Empire of 69 A.D. (the year that four emperors took the throne), and the volatile world of present-day politics and religious belief. The origins of Christianity, multiple conspiracies, and secret societies are described with an eye for the details that make history so compelling to so many readers. While a number of the characters may have been killed off a bit before their time the main, lasting characters were intriguing and well-written. I especially enjoyed the retired CIA operative that dabbled in Black Ops. (I hope to see him again!) The main character, who uncovers a fifty-year-old family secret, was also quite believable and solidly written.
All in all, “The Lazarus Smile” is a fast paced, page turning historical ride that I enjoyed until the very last page.
4 out of 5 stars