The Secret of Heaven by Felix Alexander
When investment banker Lazzaro de Medici is found dead, Professor of Biblical Studies at University of Illinois at Chicago Aiden Leonardo is the prime suspect. In possession of an encrypted letter given to him by Lazzaro, Aiden utilizes his extensive knowledge of Scripture to piece together clues that lead to a Lost Bible dating back to the time of Christ.
Hidden within the text is an ancient truth about the most controversial message Jesus left to His disciples. But as Aiden embarks on his quest to unravel the mystery of redemption and faith, a secret organization known only as The Group hunts him down to destroy the Lost Bible and tie up loose ends.
With the help of his fiancé Dr. Miriam Levin—a cultural anthropologist and a professor of historical archaeology in her own right, their friend Nagi, a philologist, religious historian and an eccentric cryptographer, Aiden soon realizes the Lost Bible was written by the only disciple who walked with Jesus and had his gospel omitted from Scripture.
Things are further complicated when a mysterious stranger warns Aiden that possessing the secret of heaven could cost him his life. Pursued by the F.B.I. for the ancient Black market relic and the Chicago PD in connection to the murder of Lazzaro de Medici, Aiden races against the clock to prove his innocence and fulfill his mentor’s dying wish.
Expose the secret of heaven…
Targeted Age Group:: all audiences
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 2 – PG
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I read a few articles about a 2,000 year old lost bible found by Turkish authorities in the year 2,000 A.D. when they executed a sting on the Mediterranean Sea to stop an arms deal for weapons being sold on the Black Market.
The lost bible was purportedly written by one of the disciples of Christ and correlates the Islamic view of Jesus as a prophet and not a deity.
The Vatican requested to review the relic, and the Turkish government flew it to Rome via police escort.
When Pope Benedict XVI stepped down as pope, citing medical reasons, an Islamic cleric spoke out about the unorthodox decision. When he stepped down in 2013, he cited the deterioration of his mind and body, yet as recently as autumn 2018 an article cited friends: “Though he is frail in body, his mind is still sharp.”
An Islamic cleric spoke out against the decision, stating that: “since its inception in the 1st century, no pope has ever stepped down for medical reasons. That’s because the Catholic Church has rituals in place for when a pope dies in office.”
He later postulated that the pope stepped down, because he read the lost bible and realized he could no longer lead a Church predicated on a lie!
Given that the lost bible has repeatedly emerged from the shadows of society only to disappear for several centuries at a time, I felt inspired to write a mystery surrounding this controversy…and so, the search for the lost bible begins.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The main character, Aiden Leonardo, is a fictional Professor of Biblical Studies at University of Illinois at Chicago who, despite possessing a secular disposition has wondered about redemption and faith.
His fiance, Dr. Miriam Levin, a Cultural Anthropologist and Professor of Historical Archaeology is the yin to his yang…filling in the gaps of knowledge in Aiden’s role.
Nagi, a philologist, religious historian and eccentric crytographer provides the comic relief and outside-the-box history-related facts that have made him a fan-favorite!
All three will appear in the sequel, coming July 2019.
Lorenzo de Medici stared at the Bible in disbelief. All these years, all these centuries, a clue to the truth was hiding in plain sight. He flipped back and forth between the two verses, and read them repeatedly.
Matthew 13:11, He answered and said unto them, because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Luke 8:10, And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
“What do you suppose this means, exactly?” Lorenzo looked up at Aiden.
Aiden sighed. He gazed at the letter again. The rose cross, the cryptic writing, and the Monas Hieroglyphica all hinted at something. But what? The Bible, he knew, had been a collection of canonical texts. The etymology of the word Bible having come from Latin and Hellenistic Greek, biblia and tà biblía, respectively.
“The books.” Aiden whispered.
“What?” Lorenzo stood with Bible in hand.
“Tà biblía literally translates to the books.” Aiden said without lifting his gaze from the letter. Although he did not have the slightest clue what the message was, it had been intentionally scripted to conceal something.
“The Bible was written in parables and allegory for a few reasons,” Aiden finally said. “Genesis, for example, condensed billions of years of evolution into seven days. It was the only way to explain the complexities of Creation that humans, at the time, did not understand.”
“Makes sense.” Lorenzo nodded as he stood beside Aiden, looking over his shoulder at the letter.
“Not to a Believer.” Aiden glanced up at him. “Even today, fundamentalists will vehemently defend their literal rendering of Scripture.”
“That’s because they believe it was divinely inspired.” Lorenzo added.
“Precisely!” Aiden held out his hand for the Bible.
He opened to the Old Testament.
“After the first five Books of Moses, come the Books of the Prophets. Their message was clear, and their prophecies were expected. So when Jesus appeared, many believed the prophecies had come to fruition,” Aiden said. “He wandered the land preaching about a new covenant with God. Beyond demonstrating that no one should consider him or herself above speaking with unscrupulous individuals, he also taught that anyone, regardless of the gravity of their sins, is righteous before God when he repents and prays for forgiveness.”
A throbbing pain jolted between Aiden’s eyes. A memory flashed across his mind. Lazzaro de Medici sat across him at the dinner table. A melancholy smile played on his lips.
I have made many mistakes in my life. Lazzaro’s voice echoed in Aiden’s mind. Perhaps it is not too late for redemption.
A blinding light flashed.
“Hey, you alright?” Lorenzo leaned forward.
Aiden leaned back in his seat. He drew a deep breath and pinched the bridge of his nose.
Their iPhones blared to life and interrupted the silence. Aiden lifted his smart phone off the desk, and Lorenzo reach for his inside his pocket. When they read the message they received from Miriam, they turned to each other in disbelief.
“We’ve gotta get outta here.” Lorenzo stuffed his phone inside his pocket and made to help Aiden up from the chair.
“What? Wait. What about Miriam?” Aiden lifted the letter off the desk.
“I’ll send one of Dad’s lawyers for her.” Lorenzo said. “In the meantime, we have to get you out of here.”
“Because the car she’s driving belongs to Susan.” Lorenzo led him out of the study.
“And?” Aiden folded the letter and placed it back inside the envelope.
“And I’ve been dodging the detective who wants to question you!”
“But we haven’t done anything wrong.” Aiden followed him into the kitchen.
Lorenzo grabbed a set of car keys off the kitchen counter. “Well, we can’t prove that, now can we?”
“We don’t have to prove anything!” Aiden contested. “That’s their job. They investigate, find the bad guy, and clear our names.”
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