William Barrow carries a dark secret. A very dark secret.
An archivist for the Smithsonian Institute and also a part-time operative for the CIA, no one would ever suspect the handsome ‘thirty-ish’ William is in fact the most reviled human being to ever walk the earth. His infectious warmth and sense of humor make such an assertion especially hard to believe.
But long ago, William Barrow had another name…one that is synonymous with shame and betrayal: Judas Iscariot.
Forced to walk the earth as a cursed immortal, William/Judas is on a quest to reclaim the thirty silver shekels paid to him in exchange for Jesus Christ. Twenty-one coins have now been recovered—thanks in large part to the help from his latest son, the esteemed Georgetown University history professor, Alistair Barrow.
Ever hopeful the complete coin collection will buy him a full pardon from God and end his banishment from heaven, William plans a visit to a remote village deep within Iran’s Alborz Mountains to retrieve ‘silver coin number twenty-two’. But the CIA has a different objective for this trip, one that pits both father and son against an unscrupulous Russian billionaire searching for something else that’s just as precious within the ancient mountains of Iran…something that threatens peace in the modern world if William and Alistair fail to reach it first.
Aside from the Devil himself, there is no more a hated man in Christian theology than Judas Iscariot, the man who betrayed Christ to the Romans for 30 silver shekels. In Aiden James’ Judas Chronicles, the infamous Judas has been on a millennia long treasure hunt to retrieve the blighted coins that he squandered following his decent from Apostle to traitor. The tale spun in the pages of Plague of Coins paints a modern picture of Judas, (a.k.a William J. Barrow) our tales protagonist, who is ripe with sarcasm and wit that has been sharpened by eons immortality. The story reads like a mixture of Indiana Jones meets James Bond peppered with a helping of Biblical undertones and the stuff of legends.
The fluidity of the story makes up for the lacking in descriptive writing in some parts of the narrative, which initially annoyed me greatly. However, the abrupt writing style with minimal depictions of events and people, which is relayed in a first person narrative by Judas, works well in this case. James’ has written Judas into a likeable, sharp, sarcastic immortal who details the events of his eternal existence with a matter-of-fact approach. Of note, there is a human quality afforded to Judas, who accepts his wrong doings as one of the most evil beings in Christianity, yet James writes the character with convictions, among which is Judas’ belief that he has seen a bastardization of the foundations of Christ’s teaching and the bible thorough the years he has been alive. The tale of Judas’ search for his shekels transports the reader on an entertaining jaunt through the life a man who is destined to live forever, and, who in his time on this earth has made as many friends as he has enemies.
On the Pure Textuality rating scale I give Plague of Coins a grade of 4 out of 5 stars.
The intriguing aspect of reading work by Aiden James is his unwavering ability to adapt his writing to each series he takes on. Asides from the Judas Chronicles, James’ carries forward with the Herculean task of keeping his fans hunger for his writing satiated. I would highly recommend not only the Judas Chronicles by Aiden James, but would urge readers to also check out the Talisman Chronicles, the Cades Cove Series, and the Dying of the Dark series.