Bone Box by Jay Amberg

bone boxJoe Travers travels to Turkey in order to check up on an archeological site. Never did he expect to find himself pulled into a web full of betrayal, and violence. Sophia Altay is a beautiful archeologist leading a team who discovered a stone box dating back to the first century. A box the ancient Jews used to bury their dead; the inscription on the box reads: “Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.” Altay now must struggle to keep the discovery a secret until she can verify its authenticity. Aside from the inscription on the box, there were other things inside, things that could alter history as we know it. There are people out there who would kill to obtain this stone box and to suppress the contents and what they could reveal. There are members of the foundations which fund and support her dig, that want to shut her down. Altay, with the help of Travers, must fight to remain at her dig and stop those who wish to take credit for her work.

The story creates a world readers want to visit. Amberg uses his words to paint a beautiful picture of Turkey with detailed descriptions of the mosques, gardens, and dig sites. In one scene he describes a village, with the actions of the villagers with old men at cafés smoking and drinking tea, or a tractor pulling a watermelon cart, where a melon crashes to the ground. This attention to detail gives the reader so much to envision and makes them feel as if they are a part of the story. The characters of Sophia and Joe Travers are very likable from the beginning. Sophia is a woman with passion for her work and will stop at nothing to complete what needs to be done. The way she describes archeology being a puzzle and how sometimes a find could alter the outcome of the puzzle, puts the field into a new perspective. Travers is a man who seems to be running from his past even though it continues to follow him. The religious undertone to the novel adds depth to the plot. It is no longer the story of a woman wanting to protect an archeological dig of random early settlements, but a woman wanting to protect the religious sites such as the place Saint John is said to have lived and died after Christ. Making a reference to the gentlemen of each organization involved as Pharisees illustrates not only religious struggle for the box, but Sophia’s own religious struggles. The characters and the story come to life through Amberg’s storytelling. One would almost begin to think the possibility of the events in this story as being real. Bone Box is a novel full of twists and turns, as well as stories within a story.

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