The Breath of God: A Novel of Suspense
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The Breath of God: A Novel of Suspense

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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  1,276 ratings  ·  309 reviews
A murder at the Taj Mahal. A kidnapping in a sacred city. A desperate chase through a cliffside monastery. All in the pursuit of a legend that could link the world's great religious faiths.
In 1887, a Russian journalist made an explosive discovery in a remote Himalayan monastery only to be condemned and silenced for the heresy he proposed. His discovery vanished shortly th...more
ebook, 418 pages
Published March 10th 2011 by Hundreds of Heads Books (first published February 18th 2011)
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Leroy Seat
I gave this engaging novel only three stars for three reasons: (1) I thought it demonized Christian fundamentalism/evangelicalism. I am no supporter of fundamentalism, having written a book titled "Fed Up with Fundamentalism" (2007). Still, the “bad guys” in the novel were all fundamentalists/evangelicals and nothing good was said about such Christians.

(2) I thought at places the book seemed too much like World Religions 101; that is, there were places that seemed to be didactic and not necessa...more
Jeffrey Small
Mar 22, 2011 Jeffrey Small rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
Hi this is Jeffrey, the author. I'm not going to review my own book, but this is what the critics are saying:
"Visionary fiction." Library Journal
"Small's stunning debut...a thought provoking masterpiece." RT Book Reviews
"Spellbinding...full of suspense...raising questions that have not been asked before." Bookloons.com
"A fascinating tale of what can lurk behind blind faith and what is possible if you open your mind." BrokenTeepee.com
"An impressive literary debut." Atlanta Magazine
"Small exp...more
Clif Hostetler
The novel begins with the main character going over a dangerous Himalayan waterfall. The story continues to plunge through additional dangerous situations all through the book, and the action doesn't cease until the end of the book. Along the way the reader is given a lesson in the similarities between the world's religions. The book is a combination of mystery/ thriller/ historical/ religious book based on a genre formula similar to The Divici Code except that this novel depicts certain conserv...more
Readersentertainment
Imagine a world where all religions have the same basis, a common source...
In 1887, a Russian journalist named Nicholas Notovitch made the most remarkable discovery—a text that shows a fusion of seemingly disparate Western and Eastern religions. The find, which was made in a remote monastery nestled in the Himalayan Mountains, could alter religion and our understanding of divinity forever. But it never reached the public. The secret had been lost. Until now...
Grant Matthews, a scholar and reli...more
Lacey
Short version:

This is the ninth book I've won from goodreads. Of the others, the ones I've liked I've passed along to friends apathetic about whether I ever saw them again or not. The ones I didn't like were donated to the local thrift store with the hopes that shoppers, for their own sake, never picked them up.

I'm keeping this book.

Long version:

From the epilogue: "What happens when you have an experience that shakes your belief system?" That pretty much sums up the plot, and what I like about...more
Mary
Comparative spirituality. Contemporary. Quick read. Became a suspenseful page turner after chapter 10. Well written though rather simplistic with too much violence. But unfortunately the violence mirrors attitudes that exist - about which the book seems to be a warning. It is generally about the communality of religions - more specifically a meeting of "eastern" and "western" thought/religion/philosophy. The focus on Buddhist philosophy provides most of the high points, as always when east/west...more
Ron
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer
I wish I could give this 3.5 stars because I liked it, but I don't want to give it four stars to say I really liked it because it's more like somewhere in between. The book was thoroughly entertaining in a Dan Brown-esque kind of way and kept me reading, but I found some parts to be overly drawn out, others to be too predictable. I hate when a fiction book overly tries to explain something not commonly known or understood in a way that takes from the story - I get that explanation is needed, but...more
Dave
In the current time of religious change, introspection, reinvention, seeking, and tolerance, it is important for a book to do a periodic litmus test to see what the balance between secularism and free expression is. One of the laws of the universe is cause and effect, or ultimate balance. Seeking and exploring new religious thought has, as it's opposite, a tightening of dogma among the more conservative paths.

In the hands of a Dan Brown, these litmus tests not only tell us much about a people's...more
Patty
This was a page turner! From the very first sentence to very last word this book kept me captivated. It's a combination of religious/mystery/historical/modern day thriller and I found it to be just about unputdownable. The premise of the tale, that Jesus traveled to India and Tibet during the 18 years unaccounted for in the Bible, was first postulated by Nicolas Notovitch. Known there as St. Issa His teachings are remarkably similar to what He taught in Jerusalem.


I had read previously and in pas...more
Joe Cummings
While religious studies are important, fiction based on religion is also a useful meditation. “The Breath of God” by Jeffrey Small is a novel about a religious studies grad student who finds ancient documents in a remote Himalayas monastery suggesting that Jesus of Nazareth studied with Brahmin and Buddhist masters before starting his own ministry in Palestine. The idea that the “Son of God” was not divinely inspired or worse inspired by pagan religions infuriates a bible thumping minister from...more
Vincent
This book was a great ride on so many levels. I love ancient history, and I love comparative religion, AND I love a great suspense/thriller. This book had it all. I truly couldn't put it down at times. I've seen people's reviews making the comparison to The Da Vinci Code, and I'll agree to a point. It was a little grittier, and not as much a mystery (in that there isn't a "puzzle" to figure out.) I feel this book stands on its own apart from Dan Brown's book.

I do feel it could have been a sho...more
Steve
I'm a fan of the concept of the book, but not the book itself (if that makes sense). The book started off a little dull, but really got going around page 50 or so, when the protagonist learned that the texts that he was looking for were in fact real, and that he'd get access to them. Overall, none of the characters were very compelling, and could have used a lot more fleshing out- Grant and Kristin, the protagonists, were very dull and stereotypical. Tim, the antagonist, also very stereotypical....more
Stacie
Grant Mathews, grad student, is on a mission to discover a link of ancient texts uncovering the early life of Jesus believed to be hidden in a monastary in the Himalayas. Upon discovering them, Grant finds himself on his own self aware journey. He falls in love with the journalist Kristen and races for his life from a crazed assasin while trying to save his career.

With so many faiths brushed upon in this novel I was amazed at how well things tied up. I loved the theroy behind the philosophies in...more
Martha
While I think that this book had it's interesting points, it really lacked what makes a good action book. The characters seemed flat, and could have used a little more development, but the main idea of the book was entertaining. It you haven't read the Da Vinci Code, I'd suggest reading this book. If you have, then you're going to be bored with the lack of adventure in a religious setting. It's just too hard not to compare it, and when you do, this book just falls short.
Deyanne
Jun 01, 2014 Deyanne rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Deyanne by: Kris W.
I would give this book a 3.5 but just can't seem to want to move to the 4 category. Definitely a DaVinci Code meets Raiders of the Lost Ark with an invitation to Breakfast with Buddha thrown in for good measure. While compelling and I did want to read to the ending, it simply left me without that "wow" factor. I actually enjoyed the Religion 101 comparisons and similarities between Buddhism, Christianity and Islamic beliefs and history.

Good beach read. I understand why my good friend recommende...more
Michael
I'm abandoning this one a little over halfway complete. If only this book had read like the description. It isn't that bad of a story, thus, the 2-star rating, but I'm not going to continue reading anything that makes me feel like I want to hurry and finish the book so I can get it over with. There are too many books to read.

The evangelical storyline is not believable to the point of being absurd to me. I think the majority of evangelicals think they are doing what is best for other people - ye...more
Maia B.
Jul 27, 2011 Maia B. rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Oh no, no no no no no
This book was terrible.

I didn't read the whole thing, just flipped through it in about half an hour, and I still understand the entire plot. The characters are all the same: there's the handsome, intelligent, brave, conscientious male lead, and the beautiful, intelligent, brave, conscientious female lead. Then there's the beloved mentor, the evil, twisted villain(s) and a few uninteresting paper cutouts thrown in for effect.

The premise was a vaguely interesting one, but Jeffrey Small butchered i...more
Brandon Lott
I don't read fiction. It's something that I've worked on for many years and to this day there are only a few books that have really kept me engaged long enough for me to not forget that I was actually reading it. This is one of those books.

I like this book for all of the things that it said and for all of the things that it didn't say. The message it carries is one that this world sorely needs in this very moment and could help us tremendously on the path towards global healing. Seriously.

Ther...more
TOM SCHOENHOFER
I have just finished this and loved it. Very exciting with a surprise twist at the end.

“The Breath of God” by Jeffrey Small is a first time novel by Mr. Small. It is of the genre of “The Da Vinci Code” but takes place in the USA, India, Tibet and Druk Yul, the name the Bhutanese use for the tiny Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas, between Tibet and India. It is a little slow on the uptake, but then it gets very exciting and moves quickly. Small weaves various plots and characters into the story i...more
Steve Palm-houser
The Bible is silent about 18 years in the life of Jesus, from his appearance at the temple in Jerusalem at age 12, to the beginning of his public ministry at age 30. What was Jesus doing all that time?

The speculation that Jesus may have traveled to the Far East during this "silent period" has been around for many years. The idea that Jesus learned some of his insights from sages in the East is heretical to conservative Christian orthodoxy. But it would explain the many parallels between Christia...more
Nicolette
This was a solid 3-star for me for most of the book. Sure, it was a tad predictable about the Issa issue - I called it about 30 pages before it was revealed - but the story was solid and Kinley was awesome.

But that EPILOGUE. Dear me. We had such a lovely journey with Grant and his path to inner calm. You don't need to include him lecturing his students about it. It was a great showing and then it just became preachy and telling and UGH. Yes, it annoyed me enough that I took off a whole star. I c...more
Monisha
An exciting page-turning thriller that captivates you from the very first chapter. Towards the end of the book I found that I couldn't put it down and ended up pouring through the last 100 pages in one sitting. But what really makes this novel stand out from all the others is the personal journey that you find yourself taking along with the characters. Underneath the roller coaster ride, it's a deep thought-provoking inquiry into what religion is and has become and prompts you to think criticall...more
Ezzy
I can't decide which is more stupid- the plot, or the fact that I bothered to finish this book. I blame my eternal book optimism that the ending could be surprisingly clever, and the heavy nonfiction tome I'm also reading that required some escapism.

The short answer: Christopher Moore sold it better in "Lamb". More insightful about religion, better writing, and it's intentionally funny (unlike Breath of God, which is unintentionally funny).

1) the characters alternate between asking the dumbest...more
John
Well written suspense novel with biblical scholarship, hypocrisy, and lust for power as key themes. It tells about a PhD student who is searching for manuscripts that describe the travels of Jesus in India between his 13th and 29th years. There has always been a lot of speculation on these "lost years", and this book is based loosely on a controversial discovery by Nicolas Notovitch in 1887 of Tibetian manuscripts in a monastery in India. Definitely worth a read.
Shawna
Grant is a student of religion on a mission to track down the controversial Issa Texts. This manuscript may shed some light on the years of Jesus' life that the Bible does not account for. However, there are people who do not want the texts found or made public.

I thought it would be a faster read and I felt like the plot kept repeating itself.
Paula
Very interesting! Lots of action! Felt like I was there in every country/monastery. Well written. Made me think deeper into my own spirituality. Did not try to change anybody's mind...only make you think!
Jasmine
I really enjoyed this book. I read it in 2 days.
Loved the interconnectedness of it all. Reminded me
that we are all connected and things are more alike than different.
John
A super book that challenges current belief structures in a novel way!
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A graduate of Yale, Harvard, and Oxford Universities, Jeffrey Small has studied Yoga in India, practiced meditation in Bhutan, and journeyed throughout the Holy Land. His critically acclaimed debut novel THE BREATH OF GOD won the 2012 Nautilus Book Award Gold Medal for best fiction and was hailed as "visionary fiction" by Library Journal and "a thought-provoking masterpiece" by RT Book Reviews. Hi...more
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“He'd wondered for so many years if he'd ever be able to forgive his father. Maybe he'd just used the wrong word. Surrender. Acceptance. Those seemed better.” 4 likes
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