Gods In The Ruins

A Vatican Achives Thriller

Christian - Thriller
226 Pages
Reviewed on 12/10/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Bernadette Longu for Readers' Favorite

In Gods in the Ruins: A Vatican Archives Thriller by E. R. Barr, the main character is a boy named Daniel Azar and his parents who are archaeologists. This story starts in 2003 and then changes to the present day and takes place all in only one month, February. Barr has woven a nail-biting story around the ancient city of Babylon and the main character Daniel who becomes a Catholic priest when he grows up. Barr weaves the lives of his characters so subtly into the story from the time Daniel was a child until he is in his twenties, as well as all the supporting characters that appear. The myths that surround the ancient city of Babylon are used to advantage, as well as using the keeper of the world's ancient books in the Vatican Library in Rome.

Gods in the Ruins: A Vatican Archives Thriller by E.R. Barr has been written with an unusual skill that holds your attention from the first page to the last. Barr brings to light the ancient ruins that have been excavated for centuries in such a vivid way that, when reading the book, you can actually feel as if you are there on site. Barr has introduced twists in the plot that start in Rome and move to the Middle East and end in Rome but, as each move takes place, you eventually find out how they all fit together and how all the characters are interwoven into the story. The author has taken the chaos that we find ourselves in today, with all the holy wars going on, and turned it into a stunning crime thriller with science fiction and magic that anyone new to the genre would be captivated by after finishing this book. It is not normally the type of book I read but I found that once I started, I could not put it down and thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the fact that you could not guess as to how it would end - that was the best. Thank you for a delightful book that kept me reading long past midnight.

Vincent Dublado

Gods In The Ruins is E.R. Barr’s latest offering in his Vatican Archives Series where archaeologist Fr. Daniel Azar and Swiss Guard Luca Rohner are sent by the Pope to an archaeological find in Iraq to investigate the discovery of an ancient tomb. But they are not the only party who expresses an interest to investigate, as the CIA director sends his own team to find out if the discovery poses any threat to America’s national security. The CIA has a good reason to feel alarmed, as the tomb contains a prophetic warning about the final apocalypse. In the process, both the Vatican and the CIA find themselves treading on dangerous ground and must join forces not only to fight a terrorist organization but also a formidable enemy that they have never faced before.

I find that Gods In The Ruins is brilliant enough to slake the thirst of readers craving supernatural action thrillers, and I am one of them. My heart certainly leaped upon reading this story. It is not a literary masterpiece, but it has its own merits that work in its favor, and one of them is the thrill that you feel as you join Azar and Rohner in their perilous investigation. I can also vouch that the narrative has good pacing. E.R. Barr will please readers with his character perspectives and ideas pertaining to archaeology and religion. Most of all, Barr is a fair and just creator of characters. He doesn’t throw in terrorist villains just for kicks. He allows for an exploration of cultural, religious, and historical factors that contribute to extremism. This story is a feast for anyone who loves great action thrillers with a touch of the supernatural.

Stefan Vucak

During the last days of Saddam Hussein’s reign, Markoz Azar, an Iraqi archaeologist digging in the ruins of Babylon, finds King Nebuchadnezzar’s ring, called the Star Sapphire. Hussein gives the ring to the archaeologist’s son for safekeeping. When Daniel Azar puts on the ring, he is amazed to see it shrink and become a simple dark blue band. He is told the ring will protect him and all those close to him from harm. Ordained as a priest, Daniel is sent by the Pope to Iraq where his father managed to enter King Nebuchadnezzar’s tomb. A golden tablet contains an inscription in English prophesying the End of Days. Using the Star Sapphire, Daniel opens the sarcophagus and beholds Babylon as it used to be. ISIS wants the secrets of the tomb as a tool to establish a world Caliphate. To discover those secrets, Daniel opens the tomb again … and magical things happen.

The Gods in the Ruins book blurb suggests a story about Babylon archaeology, a tablet describing the End of Days, the Vatican, CIA, and ISIS fighting each other to possess it, and the mysterious crypt where it was found. Instead, readers will be plunged into fantasy, mythical creatures, and a Muslim Mahdi who wants to rule the world … if he can possess Daniel’s magical Star Sapphire ring to give him legitimacy. Well written with compelling dialogue and narrative, lovers of fantasy will be drawn into the power struggles of this book, perhaps wishing they also had a Star Sapphire ring to guide their destiny and give them power. With Gods in the Ruins, E.R. Barr gives readers an enchanting glimpse into Babylon’s magical past.

Grant Leishman

Gods in the Ruins: A Vatican Archives Thriller by E.R. Barr is a fast-paced, supernatural thriller that reads a bit like a cross between Indiana Jones and The Da Vinci Code. Two Iraqi archaeologists, Dr. Markoz Azar and his wife Dr. Frances Azar, have been excavating the ruins of what was ancient Babylon for some twenty-odd years now, often assisted by their son, Father Daniel Azar. He is now a Catholic priest and the adopted nephew of the new pope, Liam Murphy, the first Irish pope, known as Pope Patrick. When the doctors Azar realize they have uncovered a tomb that contains a tablet, with a warning to the world about a calamitous event that is purported to occur in November of that year, they call on their son, an expert in ancient writings, to decipher the message and help them to forewarn the world of the coming apocalypse. An eight-year-old Daniel Azar was presented with a special ring that appears to have magical properties, and was supposedly the ring of the famous Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, by Saddam Hussein on the very day that Baghdad was attacked in 2003. When rumors of the archaeologists’ discovery leak out, some extremely desperate people, including ISIS, not to mention some supernatural deities, want a piece of the action, as well as getting their hands on Daniel’s ring. The archaeologists, Daniel, the Vatican Swiss Guard, and two ex-Mossad CIA operatives will be in for the fight for their lives to keep the competing entities at bay.

Gods in the Ruins is a fast-paced, action-adventure that smacks of “Boy’s Own Annual” stories I used to devour as a child. Author E.R. Barr has superbly mixed the real with the supernatural and made it seem conceivable and plausible. The action is frenetic as the plot twists and turns from the Vatican to Iraq and into the desert where this previously buried tomb has now been uncovered. This is clearly the start of an intended series and is the perfect introduction to these characters that we can look forward to in future adventures. I particularly enjoyed the character of the new pope, who clearly is a breath of fresh air in the Vatican, with his no-nonsense, straight-forward Irish nature and temperament. I appreciate stories with a back history, such as this one, rooted in myths, legends, or historical happenings, and tying them into a religious context especially a Muslim/Judeo-Christian context really brings them alive from a current perspective. The action junkie will thoroughly enjoy the non-stop nature of the narrative and for those with a supernatural bent, there is ample opportunity to explore mythical beasts and magical happenings. This was an easy, relatively short story that can be enjoyed in one comfortable sitting and I can highly recommend the read.