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ADVANCE PRAISE FOR THE BREATH OF GOD
There is nothing better than reading a novel that exceeds expectation. The Breath of God is a spectacular thriller that spans the world, history, and the limits of imagination; an epic adventure that left me yearning for more.
Richard Doetsch, author of
The Thieves of Darkness and The 13th Hour
“First-time novelist Jeffrey Small has created a thrilling adventure tale that spans cultures and religious traditions while also exploring fundamental spiritual truths. I was intrigued by the unique proposition that lies at the heart of the plot and captivated by the characters that keep the story moving. If you enjoy reading a fast moving mystery with the added bonus of a challenging investigation of religious beliefs then this is the book for you.”
Steve Floyd, CEO August House Books
“In this gripping taleâplayed out against an intriguing international settingâEast meets West, mystery meets romance, the human spirit meets the divine spirit and the reader meets a novelist of the first caliber.”
The Honorable Raymond Seitz, former US Ambassador to Great Britain
“What fun, for the heart and for the soul! In this compelling thriller, Jeffrey Small treks through a fascinating nineteenth century legendâor is it a hoax, or is it a healthy exercise in our broadening spiritual awareness? In this delightful book, Small also explores the popular distinction between religion as exploitation and religion as mysticism. Enjoy it!”
The Very Reverend Samuel G. Candler, Dean of the Cathedral of St. Philip
“From the very first pages,
The Breath of God
will draw you in! Jeffrey Small's masterful storytelling will take you from Himalayan monasteries to the American Bible Belt in a heart pounding adventure filled with twists, turns and shocking revaluations that will rock the foundation of traditional Christianity. This gripping roller coaster of a novel will keep you guessing until the very end. If you liked
The Da Vinci Code
, you will love this book.”
Darren Main, author of
Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic
The Breath of God
, the debut thriller by Jeffrey Small, is sure to create controversy while exploring the plausibility of an ancient legend that could tie the world's religions to each other. Although fiction, Mr. Small paints a colorful and realistic depiction of India that reflects the multi-faceted environment of daily existence in that country. Mr. Small also weaves a suspenseful journey for protagonist Grant Matthews that keeps the reader coming back for more. The most intriguing aspects of the book, in my opinion, are the parallels drawn among the major world religions and how such religions connect despite their many differences. A must read for those that love suspense and mystery; also for those who wish to expand their knowledge of the world's religions, check out this novel.”
Kenneth A. Cutshaw, Former Honorary Consul of India
“Adding to his impressive scholarship work on world religions, Jeffrey Small distinguishes himself as a great story teller in his first novel,
The Breath of God
. Small brings the reader on a page turning adventure, as Grant Matthew's goes east in search of the ancient mystery of Issa. This story of mystery and intrigue leads the reader down a fascinating path toward uncovering the origins of the world's major religions. The history, the legend, the suspense and the story of
The Breath of God
will keep the reader on the edge of his seat from start to finish.”
Rev. Lang Lowrey, President of The General Theological Seminary
“Jeffrey Small skillfully maneuvers this spectacular historical mystery between the Indian subcontinent and the American south, where Evangelicals go to war against a scholar's tantalizing discovery. You'll be fascinated by the stunning connections between the world's faiths that Small unveils against today's background of savage religious hostilities.”
“In Dan Brown-esque fashion, Jeffrey Small has crafted a thriller based on historical research, scholarship, and his own creative gift. The book is for those who are not afraid to think or ask the question “What if?” It engages the reader on many levels with a tension between action and ideas; it offers pleasurable escape but also food for thought. Small is right on target with characters we love and those we love to hate, a taut narrative that spans 2000 years and transports the reader halfway around the world, abundant sensory detail that invites us to smell, taste, hear and feel what the characters are experiencing, and a heart-stopping pace that won't let you relax. A very impressive debut that solidly hits the mark!”
Kathy McClelland, Director of Libraries, The Westminster Schools, Atlanta, GA
Also by Jeffrey Small:
God as the Ground of Being: Tillich and Buddhism in Dialogue
TO ALISON AND GABRIELLA.
THANK YOU FOR MAKING THIS POSSIBLE. I LOVE YOU BOTH.
Although this novel is a contemporary work of fiction, I have based it on extensive historical research. The primary settings in India and Bhutan exist, and I have tried to capture them as accurately as possible. Russian journalist Nicholas Notovitch, whose explosive discovery in the Himalayas in 1887 serves as the basis for this story, was a historical figure. He published his findings in 1894 before being publicly condemned and silenced for the heresy he proposed.
“In the beginning was the Tao. All things issue from it; all things return to it. Every being in the universe is an expression of the Tao. The Tao gives birth to all beings, nourishes them, maintains them.”
The Tao Te Ching, 6th century BC
Â “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.”
The Gospel according to John, AD 1st century
PUNAKHA VALLEY, BHUTAN
HE NEXT ONE WILL BE the most dangerous.”
Grant Matthews spat out the remnants of the Himalayan river water he'd just inhaled on the last rapid, a Class IV.
“You good?” Dasho, his Bhutanese guide, called to him in accented English.
“Just need to catch my breath.”
The current slowed as the Mo Chhu, the Mother River, widened. Grant balanced his paddle on top of the neoprene spray skirt that kept the icy water from entering his kayak and shook out his arms. He needed to stretch his legs too; the yellow boat barely accommodated his six-foot-two frame.
Dasho approached him with powerful strokes. “Monsoon season just passed. Chhu very fast now.”
Grant pushed his helmet back, brushed his wet hair out of his eyes, and studied the guide's tanned face, his wide cheekbones. “So, how does a Buddhist monk become a river guide?”
When he arranged his trip to Bhutan, he'd asked his travel agent to find a tour guide familiar with the country's many monasteries. Grant hoped to find what he'd been searching for hidden in one of them. When the agent told him that Dasho, a former monk, led tours and kayaking expeditions, he knew he'd found a kindred soul.
“Father died two years ago,” Dasho replied. “I was only son with three sisters and a mother. Left the monastery to provide for them.”
So he lost his father around the same age I did
, Grant thought, estimating Dasho to be in his early twenties. He then quickly shrugged off the memory of his sophomore year in college: his once invincible fatherâthe great reverendâand his scandalous death. He lifted the paddle off his lap and swept it through the water.