“This spell-binding mystery is rooted in biblical archaeology. The author makes the subject come to life. Take ‘The Hidden Scroll’ on your next airplane trip. It is a guarantee against boredom, even if the plane fails to arrive on time.”.........GSPIA Professor Joseph W. Eaton, University of Pittsburgh. "Avraham Anouchi offers us a mystery that joins together history and archaeology against the background of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The story is vivid in its descriptions and characterizations."
- Professor Alex Orbach, Director of Jewish Studies, University of Pittsburgh.
Jerusalem, 1929. Palestinians Haj Amin Al-Husseini and Ahmid Ibn Najid found Bismillah, an international organization purportedly helping poor Muslims; in reality, it is a well-funded network designed to drive Jews from Palestine.
Tel Aviv, 1930. The spirits of Avner Amram and Rabbi Akiva tell Benjamin Amram that his newborn son, Avner, “will be a new Maccabee, but not the last Maccabee.” Avner and Ahmid, and later Amid’s son, Bashir, battle each other for Jewish legitimacy in Palestine. Central to their fight is the golden Menorah missing since the Romans sacked Jerusalem in 70 CE. Such a discovery would be central to the building of a third Temple and the establishment of a Jewish state. Loathing both, Ahmid forges scrolls to thwart its finding. He, and later Bashir, also attempt to steal relevant authentic parchments. Prepared by backgrounds in both engineering and archaeology, Avner doggedly follows the trail through the founding of Israel, the Six Day War, and the Yom Kippur War into the near future, 2015. Not only does Avner unravel the mystery of the scrolls, with the help of Farid, Bashir’s son, he also reveals the true purpose of Bismillah.
The Hidden Scrollpresents a fascinating panorama of Jewish history from Biblical times onward. Although pro-Israeli, it avoids demonizing Islam by including moderate Arabs. The novel is compelling.
- B.N. Peacock, Historical Novel Society
"The Hidden Scroll is an archeological thriller in the genre of The Di Vinci Code, though focused on Jewish history. Jewish professor Avner Amram is following clues to a lost scroll written by Judah the Maccabee, the acclaimed Jewish leader in the mid 160's BC. The story ranges from the mid 1930s, into the near future, and ties in story lines involving the Dali Lama, the British Mandate of Palestine, and Israel's history through it all. The search for the missing scroll also takes the reader through much of the history of the Jewish diaspora as Amram and his colleagues follow historical clues and documents from around the world, each one leading to the next. Anouchi straddles the line between historical facts and fiction fairly well. The story line holds together well, and will be intriguing to fans of archaeological stories and those interested in Jewish history. Anouchi's obvious interest in his subject shows, and his protagonist mirrors some of his own experiences and history. The Hidden Scroll is an engaging book set amid the history of the Jewish-Palestinian conflict."
- San Francisco Review Publication
A Mesmerizing Journey. The Bismillah provided for the poor in the beginning, but later the organization took a startling turn and began its evil descent into madness, destroying some of the very people it vowed to protect. In Arabic its name meant "in the name of Allah," but just what did Allah have to do with the slaughter of innocent Jews? Palestinian Haj Amin Al-Husseini, the Great Mufti of Jerusalem had called to the Arabs to eradicate the lowly Jew. A child was born into this madness, one whose father Benjamin vowed would rise up against the pograms and defend the Jewish honor. Avner Akiva Amram would learn about peace, about pograms, and would ultimately chase down the clues within elusive scrolls, unraveling the threads of Jewish history. When Avner's life was beginning, Thubten Gyatso, the Tibetan Dalai Lama, was preparing to select his successor. A strange Shofar and a cylinder with an indecipherable Hebrew inscription were brought to him for inspection. The Dalai Lama had little time to ponder their meaning, but knew they had to be safeguarded. They ultimately drifted back into hiding as the sands of time continued to flow. In another place and time, Ibn Najad began to hatch a plot against the Jewish people but this was an intellectual plot, a plot that would confuse and shatter their notions about their history. He contemplated his scheme and shuffled through his desk and "took out one of the six old parchments he had purchased from an antique dealer in a Beirut flea market." (pg. 42) These parchments would blow them all away and no one would be able to detect the forgeries. Avner's Harvard training would suit him well as the scrolls began to come to light. The questions they posed were burning ones. "Will I ever gather sufficient clues to reconstruct the mystery of the Maccabee Scroll?" (p. 152) But what about the Shlom-Zion, the Rabbi Akiva, the Bar Yochai? And then there were the parchments. There were no "guardian angels" to help solve the mystery. This is a tale that, at times, seemed to cultivate a story that bordered the thin line between fact and fiction. It did not prove to be a sensational thriller along the lines of the DaVinci Code, but rather caught my attention as an historical journey. The pace was slow, methodical and carried more historical weight and intrigue than any simple supposed earth shaking thriller. The author's knowledge of archaeology was evident in that even the names and origins of scrolls could well surface in time. For example, there has been archaeological field work in Tel Dor, Israel and the Tel-Dor scroll, although somewhat implausible, could well surface. Some of the dialogue was uncultivated in one section and sounded as if the characters were using English as a second language. I could not discern whether or not this usage was intentional. The story was fascinating, but the reader cannot expect a fast paced work, but can expect an historical work of art that is well worth reading. The pace is slow, steady, and for me, a mesmerizing insight into Israel and its conflict with those who would choose to annihilate their population rather than appreciate them and their intriguing history of survival against all odds. If you want to take a mesmerizing journey through time and look at the history of the Jews through the eyes of a wide spectrum of individuals from those who embrace Judaism to those who hate it, this is an excellent choice.
“Historical fiction is a tricky genre for a writer to tackle. Not only must he be true to the past, he must tell a compelling story that will make the reader want to turn the page. Avraham Anouchi accomplishes both tasks in his novel, ‘The Hidden Scroll’, an archaeological whodunit. Anouchi manages to tell a compelling story about two families – one Jewish, one Arab – and their journeys through British mandate Palestine of the 1920s to the Israel of the future – 2015.
The book opens in 1929 with the Arab massacre of the Jewish community in Hebron. We are first introduced to Ibn Najad, a leader of the massacre, whom the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem places in charge of a new organization called Bismillah, the mission of which is to implement a plan which will undermine the popularity of the Jewish people in the world….. Avner grows up to be a scholar and a leading authority on the Maccabees. It is his passion for this period in Jewish history that will play a pivotal role on the story.
“The Hidden Scroll is a gem. It’s a book you’ll be proud to add to your shelf.”
- Lee Chottiner, Executive Editor. The Jewish Chronicle.
The Hidden Scroll novel shows the excitement of archaeological discovery, and its thorough historical elements are reminders of what the Jewish people have had to contend with since the Maccabees bravely fought against the Greek Army.
- Forward Clarion Review
"The author takes us on an archaeological journey as his protagonist searches for clues in ancient scrolls that will lead to the location of the lost Menorah and the Ark of the Covenant. This involves following the Jewish diaspora around the world from ancient Palestrine - to Spain, the Carebbean, and even to Tibet, while a covert Arab organization is bent on sabotaging the investigation. It is well-researched and a fascinating story of what happened to the Jewish people over the centuries from the time of the Maccabees. Does he discover the lost treasures? You'll have to read it to find out."
- John DeBoer
"I cannot find the appropriate words to express how much I enjoyed reading The Hidden Scroll. It held me spellbound and impossible to put down even though my eyes were closing. It is most captivating and intriguing, making me to keep turning the page to see "what comes next". It will be the next book to be read by our Hadassah Book Club."
- Muriel Feldman. Montgomery Alabama
"I was very moved by the story and the way you connected real facts with fiction. You so lively combined stories and figures from your life: the Irgun, your loving relationships with your late wife Iris and your second one you called Daphna, your son the physician your grandson the lawyer, your brother the officer, routes in Spain and on and on with parts of your imaginary life and your passion for archeology. Your views and positions as a Jew and an Israeli are very obvious throughout the book. The book will touch the hearts and mind of any Jewish person connecting them to Judaism and to Israel."
- Dr. Daphna Yaniv, President, RDY Consulting, Georgetown, TX.