PUBLICATION DATE: JULY 01, 2012
ack has never been known for being a responsible or punctual person. But after failing to show up in Caracas, his girlfriend Esperanza has finally had enough. Determined to end their relationship once and for all, Espy goes to where Jack was supposed to sale his latest archeological discovery. Much to her surprise, Jack never made it that far and once she learns how much money he stands to lose by not completing the sale, Espy is fairly certain her boyfriend has fallen into some sort of trouble…again.
Meanwhile, Jack has indeed found himself a lot of trouble. After accidentally stumbling onto the location of the Nehushtan, his attempt to recover it is foiled by Martin Templeton—a man that seems to know much more about Jack than is logical for a coincidental encounter. Kidnapped and his prize taken, Jack must find a way out of the dangerous predicament he’s fallen into. In a very easy to read story, The Serpent of Moses is engaging, but requires some serious suspension of disbelief.
Depending upon the reader’s preference, The Serpent of Moses might be the perfect book. It’s a fast-paced, action adventure type story that requires little concentration or focus to read. There aren’t a lot of details or storylines to keep track of and overall has very little fluff. So, for someone looking for an escapism read, this is a good choice. However, if the reader would like something a little bit deeper or a plausible plot, they might want to pass on this one. It has some believability issues story wise and unsuccessfully takes a walk into the gray areas of Christian teaching.
In a story whose premise is an archeologist who has located the Nehushtan, there is a huge elephant in the room that needs to be addressed—the Bible says the Nehushtan was broken into pieces during Hezekiah’s reign (2 Kings 18.) This issue is not addressed until almost 70% through the story and when it is, it’s not satisfactorily explained away. In fact, I felt the explanation might have been worse than simply ignoring the issue. Then again, this situation highlights the inherent danger in speculative writing. The audience is not always going to be willing or able to buy the author’s explanation, which is what happened in this case.
Not only was I unwilling to accept the interpretation Hoesel presents, he takes a dangerous theological path—one which I am not at all comfortable with. I understand that Hoesel needed a way around the fact that the Bible states the Nehushtan was destroyed, to do so by questioning the accuracy of scripture and then to attempt to pass those questions off as it being a matter of perspective is a slippery slope. Granted Jack’s character is not the essence of strong biblical scholarship, but some of his internal thoughts are certainly disconcerting and should have been offset with more accurate and clearer statements of truth.
This book doesn’t have a well-developed spiritual angle to begin with. In fact, it’s not until the issue with the Nehushtan is brought up, that there’s any real attempt to develop a spiritual theme. There’s some references to Jack’s growing spiritual maturity, but not a lot else. Being a fan of subtle themes, this shouldn’t bother me. However, given the spiritual insight that is presented is rather questionable, the lack of any true spiritual information leaves this book somewhat in limbo in the Christian fiction market.
While the spiritual part of this book left me somewhat unsettled, the story being told is entertaining and Hoesel does a great job of streamlining the action and keeping things moving. There are some believability issues, but some of those can be written off simply based on this being an action adventure story meant to entertain more than being 100% believable.
This is Hoesel’s second book that features Jack, but it’s not necessary to have read the first, Bones of Elisha. I have not read the first book and had no problems following The Serpent of Moses. Hoesel does a nice job of giving the reader a general idea of what happened in the previous book, without spoiling it.
Though there are some issues with The Serpent of Moses, it is still a quick easy book to read and would probably make a great vacation novel. However, if looking for strong spiritual themes to go along with a believable storyline, might want to pass on this one.