The Sign

Another cutting-edge thriller set at the intersection of science, religion, politics and history



A wondrous sphere of light appears over the collapsing Antarctic ice-shelf. Is it a warning from God about humankind’s mismanagement of the planet? No: Raymond Khoury’s latest book is not a treatise on spirituality or environmentalism. Instead, this is the starting point for a pulse-pounding thriller that spans continents in pursuit of an audacious … hi-tech conspiracy to reshape the global balance of power, told in 85 punchy chapters, which cries out Hollywood blockbuster. Khoury’s characters include a spirited female television reporter and her sidekick cameraman, a hard-nut ex-con in search of his brother, the saintly Father Jerome, an internet billionaire, a ruthless mercenary enforcer and an evil neocon policy-maker – who together make it an exciting ride.              –– Peter Ingham, The Telegraph (UK)

 

In Antarctica, a scientific expedition drops anchor to witness the cataclysmic breakup of an ice shelf. As investigative reporter Gracie Logan begins her live news feed, a massive, shimmering ball of light suddenly appears in the sky, shapeshifting and enveloping the ship before disappearing as mysteriously as it arrived, the entire event witnessed by a shocked world TV audience.

On a mountaintop in Egypt, a solitary priest contemplates the magnificence of God’s creation spread out before him. His presence in this holy place is a mystery even to him; he is certain only of the elusive power of the calling he feels and the compulsive need to record in writing—and to draw—the vision which repeatedly consumes him.

And in Boston, reformed car thief Matt Sherwood finds out that his brother’s death may not be all it seemed to be—and that it may be related to the stunning controversy that’s spinning out of control and threatening to erupt into violence and chaos.

The entire world holds its breath as Gracie and Matt chase down the story of a lifetime: Has God finally decided to reveal himself? Or is something more sinister at hand?

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Reviews of The Sign

"Lately, several thrillers (i.e., Tom Knox’s The Genesis Secret) have taken potshots at religion, pitting sophistication and intellect against devotion and personal faith. In a departure from his time-shifting narratives about document-protecting secret societies (e.g., The Last Templar, The Sanctuary), Khoury’s new novel challenges that dichotomy. During filming in Antarctica, a news crew witnesses a shimmering sphere, unexplainable by any scientific expert. Meanwhile, in Egypt, the broadcast of the event startles a group of Coptic priests, who recognize the symbol as identical to one rendered by a prominent priest visiting their monastery. Is the mysterious symbol a sign from God or a hoax to discredit the faithful? Speaking through Father Jerome, Khoury pitches an eloquent argument for the value of personal responsibility toward one another while maintaining careful stewardship of the earth. This is a thoughtful book with a powerful message and yet also a thrilling read with compelling, well-developed characters. Highly recommended."

Laura Cifelli, Library Journal

"Khoury’s thrillers engage the reader’s mind, even as they move at a breakneck pace. His first two novels, The Sanctuary (2007) and The Last Templar (2006), were first-rate adventure yarns, and so is this one … Readers who like their thrillers to have a solid intellectual component will enjoy Khoury’s books very much. Given the high quality of each of his novels, it seems fair to say that he may be around for a while."

David Pitt, Booklist (Starred Review)

"There’s a fine line between science and religion. Too often that border becomes blurred, or confused, usually through either ignorance or fanaticism, which nearly always leads to conflict. The Sign expertly explores this ever-shifting line of myth and reality. But this book is not a religious thriller. Nobody is trying to destroy the Catholic Church; Christ is not being cloned; and there are no ancient theological secrets that could change the course of history. Instead, Raymond Khoury explores the concept of religion by posing the ever-present question What if? in a unique and appealing way. Protagonists Matt Sherwood, a former car thief (which is interesting in and of itself), and news reporter, Gracie Logan, are who Khoury calls upon to determine if God has finally decided to reveal himself, or is something more sinister afoot? I like that in a Khoury book the title actually means something. That was true in The Last Templar and The Sanctuary, and it is equally true here. The sign is important. This story captivates with plausibility and imagination. It’s fiercely intelligent and equally curious. Khoury casts his fictional world in a dark pall—a fitting atmosphere for his protagonists as they race both time and shadowy instincts toward a scintillating conclusion. The Sign is a rapid paced adventure that delivers equal quantities of story and lesson, neither one suffering in the process. Khoury’s background as a screenwriter shows. He is especially adept at action scenes. His expertly chosen verbs cause the scenes to leap from the page. You can literally feel the blows as they’re landed; wince as the bullets find their marks. He has an intense brand of storytelling all his own. The Sign is a prize to be savored."

Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Templar Legacy

"Set against a backdrop of ancient and modern religious conflict, this solid thriller from bestseller Khoury explores a number of current planetary preoccupations, from far-right political demagoguery to global warming … Unrelenting action and a suitably twisted ending …"

Publishers Weekly

"A wondrous sphere of light appears over the collapsing Antarctic ice-shelf. Is it a warning from God about humankind’s mismanagement of the planet? No: Raymond Khoury’s latest book is not a treatise on spirituality or environmentalism. Instead, this is the starting point for a pulse-pounding thriller that spans continents in pursuit of an audacious if implausible hi-tech conspiracy to reshape the global balance of power, told in 85 punchy chapters, which cries out Hollywood blockbuster. Khoury’s characters include a spirited female television reporter and her sidekick cameraman, a hard-nut ex-con in search of his brother, the saintly Father Jerome, an internet billionaire, a ruthless mercenary enforcer and an evil neocon policy-maker – who together make it an exciting ride."

Peter Ingham, The Telegraph (UK)

"The Sign, by Raymond Khoury is an intriguing adventure novel. It weaves elements of religion, the military, and science together to create a well-written and descriptive story. This is a very entertaining read. It is fast paced and very interesting. It presents itself as a bit of mystery novel, posing the question of origin of this unique vision … However, there is enough adventure, double dealings, and action to keep the story interesting until the end. The story has very strong ideological underpinnings, both religiously and politically, which can sometimes distract from the story if you have leanings of the opposite direction. However, don’t let this scare you away. The story is worth the read even if you may get a few ruffled feathers. Armchair Interviews says: The Sign is an exciting and entertaining adventure that will not disappoint."

Nicole M. Winget, www.armchairinterviews.com

"It’s always a pleasure to read a book that is both thought provoking and entertaining. Raymond Khoury’s The Sign does just that. The novel addresses current issues in a new and unexpected way while not shying from the suspenseful action many people love. The book jumps between several points of view and is set in five main places: Antarctica, Egypt, Massachusetts, Washington D.C. and Texas. The first chapter begins in Grace Logan’s perspective. The news reporter is covering the break-up of the ice-shelf in Antarctica with her team when all hell, or heaven in this case, seems to break loose. A bright sphere of light suddenly appears over the chaos occurring on the shelf, and Grace finds herself in the middle of the biggest story of her life. At the same time, all across the world people are flocking to television sets to watch images of the “sign” being broadcast live. In Egypt, Yusuf Zacharia watches in a small bar. Shocked by what he sees, he crosses himself repeatedly. In Massachusetts, Vince Bellinger, a scientist, and Csaba Komlosy, an engineer, toss ideas around as to what the strange phenomenon could be, but are unable to explain it using existing technologies. With no obvious scientific explanation for the sighting, the public turns to religion. It appears that God has sent a sign to the world. It’s the mystery and wonder behind the ideas this novel presents that make it so thrilling. The book opens the mind and encourages the consideration of other people’s viewpoints. Khoury challenges the reader to take a look at his or her own actions and beliefs and analyze their effects both on others and the world around us."

Ellen Godbey, The Anniston Star