In the fifth chapter of the first book of the Bible – Genesis – there exists a genealogy. The “book of the generations of Adam.” The eighth name in the genealogy is Methuselah, who was the son of Enoch and the grandfather of Noah (of Noah’s Ark fame). Concerning Methuselah, the Bible states: “Thus all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and he died.”
The Bible also makes numerous references to pillars. For example, the seven pillars of Wisdom’s house, spoken of by King David; the two gigantic bronze pillars that flanked the entrance to Solomon’s temple; and of course, Lot’s unfortunate wife, who, upon looking back, turned into a pillar of salt. All these are literal pillars. In addition, there are many figurative uses of pillars: the pillars of heaven and earth over which God alone has power; the legs of the beloved and the feet of an angel; the church as upholding the truth; and the position of James, Cephas and John in the church.
There is no mention of Methusaleh’s pillar. Yet the possibility of such an ancient artifact is fascinating to contemplate. Contemplation leads to speculation. Speculation leads to imagination. And imagination leads to composition of books and movies.
Enter W.G. Griffiths, who is a writer of vast talent. For he has written a rock-em sock-em thriller revolving around the chance discovery of Methusaleh’s pillar. A pillar inscribed by Adam himself. And the inscriptions have the power of life and death, mostly death.
Like all good biblical stories Methuselah’s Pillar begins with a shepherd in a field. One moment the shepherd is tending his sheep, the next moment he is dodging bombs. Seeking to escape being blown into smithereens, the shepherd dives into a small cave, where he discovers an ancient altar and a pillar. And not just any old pillar. This pillar is special. It’s Methuselah’s Pillar.
Enter Ramses al Tarik, the slimiest, most heartless villain in the history of slimy villains. Tarik is the big cheese of a dastardly group called the Lions of Justice, who, basically, want to take over Egypt and enrich themselves by stealing billions of dollars. Tarik finds out about the pillar and the power it holds. Figuring the pillar is his ticket to absolute power, Tarik prepares to unleash death and destruction on all mankind.
Enter John Decker, resident good-guy-secret-agent fighting for truth, justice and the American way. Decker teams up with Samantha Conway, archaeologist extraordinaire and ancient linguist. Their job is to thwart Tarik and save the world.
In other words, Methuselah’s Pillar has it all. Bad guys, good guys, ancient biblical mysteries, and even a love story. And what makes Methuselah’s Pillar so outstanding is that Griffiths works his literary magic and pulls the whole story together without stretching the boundaries of believability too far. The way he does it is the old-fashioned way – through character development, short chapters that end with cliff-hanging scenes, and ramped-up, non-stop action that leaves the reader gasping for breath.
Don’t blink because you might miss something.
Quite frankly, the reviewer – yours truly – ranks W.G. Griffiths with Dan Brown, Vince Flynn and James Patterson. This guy can tell a story! Why no one has heard of him is anyone’s guess. And why one of the big publishing houses hasn’t signed him to a multi-book multi-year deal is beyond comprehension.
In any event, don’t let anyone persuade you not to read Methuselah’s Pillar. It’s the sleeper of the year. Definitely one of the best thrillers to come along since The Da Vinci Code. If you miss it, you’ll be sorry.