Friday, May 20, 2011

Book Reviews of Cloning Christ by Peter Senese

An Inspiring work
By Harriet Klausner

Syracuse, New York research geneticist Dr. Max Train deeply believed in God until, a dozen years ago, someone brutally murdered his beloved wife and four-year-old daughter. For Max, their deaths and his legal tribulations afterward left him void of any belief in an All Mighty.

While Max is visiting the Jerusalem area, an earthquake hits uncovering a buried cross. Max wonders if he holds the True Cross that Jesus was crucified on. If the answer is yes, could he clone the Christ from the bloodstains and hair remnants on it causing the Second Coming? In the Vatican Cardinal Anselm Mugant learns of the discovery in Israel. He plans to prevent Max from cloning the Christ by hiring an assassin The Scorpion to kill Max.

Though there are several subplots such as the "Fifth Crusade" that spins the reader away from this delightful inspirational tale, fans will relish this thriller. The tale is loaded with action yet uses the characters as symbols of mankind similar to a medieval passion play like Everyman. The cast represents the faithful, the disbelievers, the dividers (torn between science and religion) or the selfish. CLONING CHRIST brings the debate of religion vs. science to the forefront in an exciting manner that focuses on the sacredness of life.

Thoughtful, Artful, and Valuably Innovative
K. Santon

The modern day or current fiction body requires a process of active fact-gathering - not just working from memory or sensory observation, but to cultivate the root of past historical context so as to give credible life to a storytelller's work of art. In order for a modern-day fiction story to have viable credability a critical criterion necessary is currency - that a writer get on the story's subject matter in a timely manner so that the intended message of the story will have an opportunity to reach an audience to whom the writer directs his or her words to. In 'Cloning Christ', Peter Senese thrust the reader into a spell-binding, mind obsorbing story of currency as the issues of genetic 'human cloning' drive the criterion of currency, while displaying a unique ability of taken a 2,000 year old occurance - the crucifixition of Jesus, and re-creating Jesus' possible birth through the tormented struggles 'Cloning Christ's' main character, Dr. Max Train, must endure as innovative life is given to wooden boards 2,000 years old. The possible rebirth of Jesus, for many Christ, is innovatively created through the author's artful storytelling that essentially hands the possible True Cross of Jesus to the reader, and then says here's the Cross, what do you want to do with it? Unfortunately, the reader, and for this matter, Dr. Train, never have too long to think about what to do with this ancient discovery since one dark ambush after another seems to be waiting for 'The Cross-Bearer'. The thoughtfully juxtaposed ideals of good vs. evil are carefully carried out in the continued confrontation Dr. Train faces as he carries this Cross out of Jerusalem, and into a chaotic world of unknowns waiting for him at every turn.

Senese's story of 'Cloning Christ' is most innovative in that this is not, in my openion, a story that can easily fall in the catagory of 'Christian Fiction' even though there is complete overtures towards Christianity. 'Cloning Christ' is not apocolyptic - there is no Armageddon presented similiar to other well accepted fiction (science) works, unless the reader looks deeply into some of the more thoughtful questions possed in Senese's handling of Jesus' Cross, which he happily hands to you and artfully says 'what do you do next - and, who do you really think it is - Jesus or Christ - that you're holding in your hand? The believeability that a person may one day discover the True Cross of Jesus has credability, regardless of what certain scholars and doctrines claim of Helen's discovery seventeen hundred years ago. And it is the believable criterion of 'currency' that does in fact bring to life the individual readers own Armageddon! Artfully, Thoughtfully, and Valuably Innovatively, Senese hands the reader the past, the present, and the future, and challanges you to look within at your own life and values, though never giving you too much time to stand still because there exists two uniquely created dark forces: the self-rightous man, Anselm Cardinal Mugant, and the prelates Master, an assassin known to one as Sergio, and to a select few as The Scorpion, who are after 'The Cross-Bearer'. Innovatively, the partnership between the prelate and his confessor are filled with many twisted plots and subplots that enthrill the reader, while allowing the author an opportunity to subtlely provide insight on the behaviors of narcissim and self-rightousness.

Innovatively painting a brilliant portrait of landscape and setting, Senese and Geis, create a series of atmospheres which provide 'Cloning Christ' with a living, breathing backdrop. Thus, with 'In Cold Blood' Truman Capote was taking off form the innovations of John Hersey's Hiroshima, the first serious work to attempt a novelistic factual narrative on a large scale. And thus, Tom Wolfe would add his won wrinkle to this strain in 'The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test' by eschewing Capote's uninflected and rather stiff narrative voice for a wigged-out hop patois that mirrored his characters' sensibiltiy, Senese in 'Cloning Christ' presents real scenarios to very real possible events with the kind of suspense and emotion one expects from the best realistic fiction. And by handing 'Cloning Christ's' protagonist, Dr. Max Train and the reader the possible True Cross, Senese goes deep into his subjects' consciousness, emerging with intimacy and empathy that causes the reader to have a reality check of their own.

Overall, 'Cloning Christ' is an outstanding novel. There is a style fo substance that shows the authors were very thoughtful and purposeful in their presentation of factual material, and artful in their interpretation of realistic 'what if's?' that give life to fiction. Most of all, it is with great precision that the reader is given the possible True Cross of Jesus - a valuably innovative concept that causes hairs to rise on your skin, your heart to race, and while sleeping at night, to wake up and attempt to understand what Jesus did for Man on that cross many like myself believe to be The True Cross. This is creative ficiton at its best.

An Extraordinary Novel With Compelling Meaning

Jerry Merrian

Once in a while authors get a tale just right-- this novel is one such example. In a perfect harmony of a sci-fi thriller and religious passion the writers have gotten the reader into a fast paced novel that brings them face to face with a well-conceived and well-thought out predicament: a genetic scientist finds the Cross of Christ. Will he clone the remnants on that Cross? Step by step, carefully and with rigor, the authors take the story from Mount Olivet, where scientist Max Train is confronted with a possible discovery of Jeus that set him off from all others. Is he in the presence of God incarnate's remains?

Assassins commissioned by a clerical power in the Vatican have been watching Train for a while, as well as other geneticists, in preparation to do away with them all in the name of religion and faith-- but their faith is not the faith of the religion of Christ, or any religion. The novel is now joined from Jerusalem on the Joppa Road to Tel Aviv, on a plane to Rome, where Train is shot at, and where he himself turns into a savage to ward off those he cannot understand or fathom. On to Bologna, Lake Como, Zurich as the Vatican's blackmailing prelate Cardinal Mugant issues orders of his compromised followers to kill the fleeing Train before he "commits a sin against Christ again". Paris, Edinburgh-- a brutal encounter for Train and his Mossad aid Sarah, a woman instructed to help Train avoid the treacheries of Mugant's long extending talons--, and then off to New York whither Train escapes by a hair as it seems almost all the world is after Max Train. The media spread lies,the police of different cities have their orders, and now in New York traps are set all through Manhattan-- but Train eludes Mugant's most unbelievable hire, The Scorpion, as the woman Mossad aid is tortured in Colombia. So much more happens in the book, but you get the point: we have a brilliant blend of action and reaction, plan and counterpoise, message and ignore-- all within the pages of this distinctively laid out novel of suspense and turmoil. I re-iterate what I wrote before: authors once in while get a tale just right, and Peter Thomas Senese fits that description here. Now a movie should be made to bring to the screen one of the rare achievements of learning and action conjoined in a novel that only comes around when talent gives rise to true artistic accomplishment. Cloning Christ is one such novel.

A Fresh Approach to A Well Talked Out, Written Subject

By Anthony B.

First off, I want to say there are to many Apocolyptic books out there! What in the world is going on, are The Horsemen Coming, or what? It seems as if everyone is talking about cloning Jesus these days! Now lets get real for a minute, and I say this with no intent to offend those religious folks who actually believe Armageddon will occur upon the sun's next rising! Maybe its the upcoming war, maybe its the cloning buzz, and maybe there are just too many liberties being taken in the publishing business. You go figure this out for yourself, I'm tired of it. Fortunatly, or unfortunatly, I work in a book store, so I get to see the best as well as the 'what were they thinking' in books. Here's my scoop on this book: I kept noticing the cover jacket from the counter, designed with its dna cross, and decided to take a look. Interesting. Yes, once again the cloning Jesus theme is brought out, like other stories, but, to my surprise, this book actually has no intent of diving into the drawn out issues of cloning Jesus. The story, to my applause, takes the reader into the main character's own personal struggles as well as the dark struggles of the protagonist and the villan (who, I will say, were enjoyable to follow). The story is a strong thriller with some unexpected twists that were not predictable, which kept me interested in continuing on. And so I did. Strong points of Cloning Christ: the reader becomes one with the books plot and settings, and, there is a non-preachy education the authors share with their audience. Negatives: I wish we had more insight into the villan known as The Scorpion, and I think the writers could have increased the tension in the epilogue a bit. Overall, I enjoyed this book and will recommend it to readers who like clever thrillers. I can understand why this book is catagorized under Inspirational Fiction, however, I think this book should be considered a thriller, for that's what it really is.

A truly Contemporary Thriller

By Gail Ponder

What I liked most about Cloning Christ is how real world it is: it addresses a phenomenon-- scientific cloning-- in a way making it a reality the reader must confront. How? In the most ingenious way possible-- by taking Jesus Christ's bodily remnant from his Cross and saying to the reader, What happens if Christ's body is cloned? Is it God? Is it a substitute Christ? And what do you do with this new found reality, the cloned remnants of God the Son?

Cloning Christ brings the reader across many leaps of faith as its hero, Max Train, flees unknown assassins from Jerusalem all the way to New York. The Vatican looms as a cursing shadow in Train's struggle to understand his find of Christ's Cross. Within the eternal city prowls a Cardinal, Anselm Mugant, who has arrogated unto himself the role of God's vengance on geneticists who dare to play "Creator" of man. Powerful players in finance and media, gun running, and environmental ownership are this Cardinal's pawns as the Israeli Mossad comes forth in ways clever and subtle to beat back the would be killers of Max Train.

There is a great human dimension in the book that the two authors adroitly develop: the heartache, doubt, despair, fear, and final resurrection of Max Train's spirit; the plodding hatred and self-righteousness of a pathological prelate; the calm and deliberate behavior of a Pope and a Jewish Rabbi; the simply remorseless behavior of a hired killer who was once a penitent at the confessional of Anselm Mugant. In the character of this killer, The Scorpion. one sees Nietszche revelling in the oily turmoil of words he alone could bring about.

Cloning Christ is a contemporary thriller then, in its making clear what cloning is for humanity, what it could be for a God, and what it actually became for the novel's hero-- Max Train. His only desire in life was finally never to have lost the family so cruelly siezed from him, but which he finally found replaced in full when he made his peace with the Cross and saw his life transformed by a magical woman who actually showed him that God had never stopped loving him.

I cannot recommend the book strongly enough.

Universal Truths

By Mitchell Blessitt

We like stories because they tell us about our world and enable us to learn from the experiences of others, an imaginative capacity that is one of the principal endowments of man. Cloning Christ by Peter Senese disseminates and explains the cultural traditions of religious beliefs that shape our lives by creating an praise-worthy historical thriller evolving around the Cross of Christ. In creating Cloning Christ, the main support characters of this Cross, Dr. Max Train and his guide, the Mossad agent, Sara, the author develops a story that counsels on existential dilemmas of the spirit and soul so to admonish us and point us in new directions, to give us courage to stay a given course, provides us a sense of universal kinsmen, kinswomenship - offers us other eyes through which we might see, other ears which we might hear. It is true that stories attract us by resonating with our anxieties; they allay our anxieties by conveying information or conferring wisdom. By essentially handing to the reader the Cross of Christ, Senese effectively causes great anxiety to the new Cross-bearer while provoking this reader to confront, indirectly at first, and then directly as the story unfolds, the essence of one's faith.

If we rely on stories to guide us through life, we want the guide to be reliable and truthful, and to tell it like it really is or could be; however, we also want the guide to be artful and witty, and to lead us along paths with which we are familiar. Cloning Christ is an inescapable contradiction in terms; a nonfiction fiction; a factual fantasy; a truthful deception; a non-beleiver beleiving.

Cloning Christ is a fascinating, cleverly written geo-theological thriller in a class by itself.

This was good.

By Biker Bob

Okay kids, here's my thoughts: First off, the characters in this book are thought out - each somehow making you think about different issues we all face in today's mixed-up world. The lead guy, Max Train, is a normal guy that really got pissed-on: he losses his wife and daughter to a brutal murder, then gets tried about their killings. If this happened to me, I, like Max sure would have some choice words with the Big Man upstairs. As you can imagine, Max doesn't believe in a thing. Then something crazy happens to him - he finds a cross that may be Jesus cross. To make things worse, this cross appears to have blood on it. Now kids, in christian faith, didn't Jesus, if he was Christ, leave this place? That is a question Max is confronted with. So here is a guy that looses his faith, wants to get back to believing, then suddenly is confronted with wondering if God exists.

To lead matters from the gray to the black, there is a cardinal, who in my openion, is one of the cleverist characters I have every read, that wants this guy Max dead before he lets on to the world that a cross that may be the one Jesus was linched on was found. Yep! The blood and hair follicles get Cardinal Mugant's blood boiling. Caught in what he thinks is his responsabilty to protect the Church, this guy does anything humanly possible to find Max - including making a deal with an assasin who is seeking redemtion and salvation . . . so the Cardinal thinks.

Unfortunately, Mugant has no idea who he REALLY made a deal with. Do I hear some piercing violins? I sure do! Adding to the mix are some fascinating characters, known as the Fifth Crusade. Five cats with great wealth coming from the misdeeds of Nazi Germany that were protected by the Church (this stuff I know to be true, so the authors did some serious homework), are all held hostage, so to speak, by Mugant. If they don't follow his commands, their little secret of how they pandered monies would be shared with the world.

In essence, their lives belong to him. There's this woman Adrianna who is the only surviving child of an arms dealer that can't have a kid. Yet she is torn between participating in the Cardinal's manhunt for a genetisct who may one day assist in medical science that may allow a flower to grow inside her, and killing him. There's this media mogul from Italy who is trying to also protect his empire, but believes in the message of the good Pope - who Mugant can't stand and expects to where the great big hat once the Pope dies.

There's a CIA bigshot with more secrets than there are secrets also manipulated by this crazy cat. You get the point: there are some good layers here. Personally, my favorite cat outside the Cardinal is a Jewish rabbi that helps out Max, not to mention Sara, the 'guide' who eventually follows and protects him as the story drives you to keep reading. The cool thing is that Max, while on this crazy journey, somehow finds his soul, and makes friends again with the Big Man upstairs. Overall kids, this is a good story.