The Kabbalist - Yoram Katz

Isreal. Safed, Jerusalem.

A murder mystery turns into a journey through history, starting at Shimon – Galilee, 149 AD, passing through the ages to March 6th, 2010, spanning the life of Yeshua Ben Yossef aka Jesus, The Roman Empire, the wars in Europe, including the Napoleonic wars, WWII, the Israeli wars.

The death of a monk, on January 16th, 2006 quietly fazed out as a burglary gone wrong. However, behind the scenes, another story is enfolding when a private investigator,(an ex-cop) Yossi Luria, gets involved in a case to solve a mystery for Jeanne de Charney, a masters degree student of France who is looking for information on her family.

His investigation opens up a hornets nest around secret documents which are claimed by both Christian (possibly also known as 'The Holy Grail') and Jewish religious groups. The origin of the "Kabbalah" becomes the center of all events, including the murders. For some keepers of the secret, the secret scrolls are an essential negotiating tool, for others it is proof that Jesus was not a Christian at all...

Who was Jesus really? History has taught us to remember who the authors of the books are. Each conqueror claims a different version. This book proves it.

Through these wars and deadening battles, these documents would be handed over from generation to generation for safekeeping and to protect the status quo. But there were different groups demanding possession and ownership and people would die in the process...

This book is a riveting, cannot-put-it-down, detective tale, embedded in a historical mystery that keeps the reader mesmerized while feeding astonishing information through the narrative as well. A brilliant book in which Dan Brown's"The Da Vinci Code" is contradicted with an equally profound hypothesis. 

The author says: "One thing I learned in the process of writing this book is that it is not too difficult to come up with a conspiracy theory and substantiate it. It is probably as easy as defending an old and improbable established myth. The lesson I take from this, and which I hope to share with you, dear reader, is that we should always use common sense and good judgment when examining a new and thrilling conspiracy theory, as well as when examining an old and established dogma. Both can be incredibly enlightening, terribly misleading or even both simultaneously– it is up to us always to keep an open, inquisitive and critical mind." - Yoram Katz. 

I do not believe in fate, but the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that it was fate having me read three books in a row about the French Revolution, the world wars and the clashes of Religious dogmas through the ages.

The more astounded I became, reading this book, the more I remembered the quote(anonymous): "Different people build different bridges to God, but instead of worshiping God they worship the bridges instead."

I did not like Dan Brown's commercially-driven books at all, mainly due to the hype that was built around it to sell it, and partly because it aimed to shock. I was disgusted when it ended. I gave all his books away, just wanted to get rid of it.

The Kabbalist, on the other hand, inspires the reader to rather think, to measure, to debate, with no shock-value intended at all, although the story is spellbinding. This book kept me reading and reading with the intention to read it again and digest more of the ideas and theories expressed in it. Although it is also partly historically correct, and partly an imaginary 'what if' - exercise, I can somehow relate more to it. 

The different viewpoints from the different religious denominations were presented objectively and I am sure many readers would love to debate these issues, since so many hypotheses were offered.

I recommend this book to historical fiction enthusiasts who also enjoy a mystery that could cover hundred of years and end up as the background to a fascinating murder. However, it is essential to approached this book with an open mind.

The characters were exciting, the clues well-hidden. The story fast-moving. The information staggering. Love plays a role - an endearing one. The combination of these elements worked perfectly. An excellent experience.

This book needs a big audience.

Five stars.