1st Simon & Schuster hardcover ed.
viii, 292 pages ; 24 cm.
When Mariah Lyons calls upon Dr. Richard Callahan, a world-respected biblical scholar, to show him a letter left to her by her late father, a distinguished professor of ancient history, containing a translation from a 2,000-year-old papyrus scroll, he is astonished by the text, then awestruck when she shows him a dusty clay jar and a fragile fragment of papyrus on which he recognizes the name of Jesus, son of Joseph, of the House of David. Mariah has placed in his hands a fragment of a letter in Christ's own writing, and more than that, a pivotal letter in Christ's life. But the rest of the scroll has vanished, and Mariah is aware that somebody else out there has heard of its existence, and is searching for it. Hoping to find some answers to her questions, she visits her father's his ex-mistress Jennie Griffin, who is in prison for having murdered him. Unrepentant and coming up for a parole hearing, Griffin refuses to help her. Then her family's summer home is broken into and savagely trashed by someone who is clearly searching for something - obviously, the missing letter. Step by step, Mariah's quest for the papyrus scroll her father brought home from Egypt, a scroll he should never have taken in the first place, takes her deeper and deeper into danger. Does Griffin know the person who is hunting down this invaluable object? Do any of the others who accompanied her father and Griffin to Egypt have a clue to its whereabouts? Mariah, with Dr. Callahan's help, is drawn into the search for the scroll, the very existence of which might change the world - and for which somebody close to her would kill to possess.