The Judas Line by Mark Everett Stone

Jude Oliver hails from a long line of assassins. Tired of his family's treachery and wanting more from life than power, he escapes with their secret weapon, the Silver--an ancient artifact so potent, so evil, that it could plunge mankind into a permanent state of ruin and despair.

After fifteen years on the run, Jude receives a surprise visit from a cousin who planned to murder him to obtain the family treasure. So begins Jude's desperate quest to find another artifact powerful enough to destroy the Silver. His traveling companion is an unlikely friend, Mike Engle--a Catholic priest who found his calling on the brutal sands of Iraq. In the course of their journey, the two men clash with evil in many forms. Mike learns the details of Jude's incredible history and the family secret that reaches back 2,000 years.

Before their final, earth-shattering battle, the duo will find surprising allies and the strength to carry on against seemingly insurmountable odds. Will the lessons Jude has learned about love, friendship and sacrifice be enough to save him from his family and his destiny?

The Judas Line is written from two characters' perspectives; one being Jude, who leads us slowly through his story and his quest to bring down his Family, and the other is Mike, a priest who - although knowing Jude and practically being his best friend for around 15 years - has no idea who his friend really is. As Mike discovers more about Jude and his former life we, as readers, are given insights into his motivations. The way this is done, viewing the story via different perceptions, is undoubtedly interesting (as you can clearly see the misunderstandings that sometimes arise when they are not talking to each other) and the way the book has been written is especially involving when reading the chapters seen through Mike's eyes.

Jude’s story is steeped in magic and follows the age-old story of good versus evil and the free will which is given to all people. Although at times the plot can seem contrived, with one too many dues ex machina, this can be excused for the very reason that the story being told is based on magic, religious myths and legends that are being retold to fit. The Judas Line can be read as an interesting retelling of the fall of Lucifer and the sins of mankind.

The Judas Line is a fast paced book which does not lack for history or adventure. The inclusion of death and destruction are a given and it is good that there is a lot of humour instilled throughout. I would say that if your a fan of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, you will enjoy Mark Everett Stone's work. Recommended.

9/10 A fast-paced book which does not lack for history or adventure.

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