Book Plunge: Stolen Shroud

What do I think about Daniel Westlund’s self-published book? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I don’t read a lot of fiction, but the author sent me this book of his wanting to know what I thought of it. After a recent email reminding me, I decided to open it up and when I do, I am skeptical. It’s something I do with my reading where I have trained my mind to be critical when it comes to books in my field.

After all, while this book is fictional definitely, it’s about the Shroud of Turin. I really can’t go into it too much without giving major spoilers. Basically, the book starts with the main character, Mark, being at an event discussing the Shroud while it’s on display and then something happens and the Shroud is suddenly gone. He then goes on a quest to find out what happened to the Shroud and who stole it and why. On the way, his Christian faith is explored more and more.

The book switches back and forth chapter by chapter. At first, I found this annoying. Why do I give a rip about this guy’s childhood when I want to know what happened to the Shroud? However, as time went on, I found something happening.

While I came skeptical and at first was having a hard time getting into it, before too long, I found out that I was. I wanted to know what happened. I found, in the end, a story with many threads that weaved together in a wonderful way. I don’t think it was entirely flawless, but I was able to suspend some disbelief enough to enjoy the book.

The book also involves some genetic enhancements to several characters. I understand how it was used, but at the same time, it struck me as a Deux ex Machina. Maybe there really wasn’t any other way to do things, but I found that part kind of distracting.

The villain of this story was one of the most diabolical ones that I have come across and it was fascinating how all of that came together. A lot of his plan I really didn’t understand because of the high science language, but there was enough that I could grasp to know what was going on for the most part. This was truly one of the great villains.

I was surprised to see some real-life issues hit so hard like rape and sexual abuse. This book doesn’t always read like a Christian book, but that could be good because it’s a book that is set in a world where not everyone is a Christian. They do not speak and act like Christians.

I would have liked to have seen a little bit more said about the Shroud itself. I would have liked to have seen more about the objections to it being the real deal. I think there can be a convincing case made for its authenticity, but I would have liked to have seen more.

If there was one character that I really didn’t get into too much honestly, it was the main one. It seemed like he was in there because the plot had to be centered around someone, but there wasn’t much to his personality to leave me really admiring him. He could at best be what is seen as a lovable loser, but I found the other characters for the most part all deeper than he was.

I still wonder about some things at the end and wonder if they’re the best for a Christian novel, but they are things I cannot say because of spoilers. Still, I did enjoy this one a lot more than I thought I would. I would like to see more books like this.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 2/13/2016: Mark Antonacci

What’s coming up on the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

The resurrection of Jesus is the central fact of the Christian faith and the rock on which everything else stands. If the resurrection is not true, then in agreement with Paul, we are above all men to be pitied. There is a lot about the resurrection of Jesus that as it were remains shrouded in mystery for some of us and one object that can remain shrouded in mystery is, well, the shroud itself.

That is, the Shroud of Turin.

This is a relic that caused a stir when it was discovered and to this day, it is still disputed. Most of us would no doubt consider it something remarkable and even those who are its critics do not have a way in mind yet that someone was able to make the image on their with all the ins and outs that it possesses. You might make an image that looks similar, but not one that has all the features that the Shroud of Turin has.

I prefer looking at different arguments for the resurrection, but I find the Shroud intriguing. What got me to get this book was a conversation with Gary Habermas when he told me about this book that he was reading about the Shroud of Turin. I decided to contact the author and see if he would be willing to come on and talk about the book. That author is Mark Antonacci and he is coming on to discuss his book Test The Shroud.

Going through, it is hard to imagine a book on the Shroud of Turin being more exhaustive in its scope. I can hardly think of a single topic about the Shroud that is not covered. For those who are concerned about the Carbon 14 dating test, yes, that is covered. For those who are concerned about the history of the Shroud, yes. That is covered. Antonacci has really left no stone uncovered in this massive work.

Hopefully also, we’ll be able to get the language in it to be more amenable to the layman as often he does speak in strong scientific terms that I will frankly admit I was getting lost in. Perhaps that is unavoidable, but when he spoke about the topics that I am familiar with being a student of the New Testament, I found that I was right there with him. If I could recommend at this point in time one book for someone curious about the nature of the Shroud of Turin, I would recommend this one.

We’ll be having Mark Antonacci be our guest and I do intend to try to ask the hard questions about the Shroud for all who are skeptical of it. At this point, I personally lean towards it being the real deal because there is just so much unexplainable about it, but it is not something I make an argument out of because I have not studied it that in-depth. I am thankful for people like Mark Antonacci who have and I hope you will be here for the next episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters