The Word: A Novel
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The Word: A Novel

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  773 ratings  ·  44 reviews
"In the Beginning, there was The Word." The classic thriller of an ancient manuscript, a secret society committed to hiding an explosive truth & the man who must uncover that truth--if he can stay alive long enough
In the ruins of the Roman seaport of Ostia Antica, an Italian archeologist has discovered a first century papyrus, its faded text revealing a new gospel wri...more
Hardcover, 576 pages
Published March 27th 1972 by Simon & Schuster (NYC) (first published January 1st 1972)
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Thomas
I picked up this book, my first Irving Wallace, after returning from a week at an archaeological dig in Israel. While I enjoyed many of the historical references and the author's genuine attempt to couch the story in a believable context, I found the central character to be distracting and the plot line more sensationalized than it needed to be. The iconoclastizing of the uncovered sacred text, for example, reveals a shallow understanding of the science of archaeology and the impact such a find...more
Kitty
Okay, the story had promise. I liked the "idea" of the book - the impact that a "newly discovered" gospel might have on the world. So, we'll give it 5 stars for storyline, but... it loses one star for being just too darn long. I think the book would have been better without some of the unnecessary fluff. It also loses a star for "stupid moments". There were just way too many incidences where I felt that the characters were too gullible, or just plain stupid. Some of the characters words and acti...more
Barry Eysman
Some years ago on the Today show someone issued this statement, the tomb of James brother of Jesus had been found. The archeologist had discovered papyrus by James written about Jesus. Whoever was the host of the Today show that morning was in golly gee wow mode. So I'm thinking of the 1970s novel THE WORD. As things developed over the week it seemed to me THE WORD was being used as a blueprint for this. Irving Wallace was a hugely successful writer, and an extremely good one. In his novel he wr...more
Beth
If this wasn't book 49 of my 50 book challenge I would have abandoned it 300 pages ago. I keep reading the little snippets of reviews on the first page that call this book "thrilling" and wondering what book the reviewer read. The editor in me wants to remove 1/2 of the words, whole paragraphs even, because they are TOTALLY POINTLESS. It just drags and drags, and just when you think it can't get any hokier you get to the last 10 pages. All I can say is that when I finished the last page I made a...more
Rob
I confess I skipped a bit in this. Why? Because I'd already read it, sort of. The Holy Grail Holy Blood authors weren't the only ones Dan Brown ripped off, er built on to create The DaVinci Code. The base concept is different, but the more I read this, the more the same it seemed. Except, perhaps, less entertaining.
Hanjinax
Certainly a fascinating idea for a novel... it was good but never broke into greatness for me.
Dick Edwards
I liked this book! I was not sure that Randall had proven that the James document was a fake, although it seemed at the time that he, himself, was convinced. Then, finally, on the next to last page (567), he admits that he was not able to prove it was a fraud, and that the issue was still in doubt. I admit that I was misled into thinking that the James document would introduce new facts such that the religious establishment would try to suppress it, thinking that it would undermine belief and ch...more
Erik Graff
May 03, 2012 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Wallace fans, persons interested in reworking of the Jesus myths
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: literature
After graduating from seminary and moving back to Chicago I obtained, disappointingly, a job as a childcare worker for supposedly psychotic adolescent boys with the Jewish Children's Bureau. My boss literally went crazy herself and I was de facto in charge (24/7 with no pay raise) until, months later, the agency hired a new director, Marilyn. That didn't work out. She was fired. Months later I got a call from her, asking me to move over to the Mission of Our Lady of Mercy/Angel Guardian Center w...more
Superiu
Acabo de terminar de leer La Palabra de Iwing Wallace. La novela trata sobre un descubrimiento arqueológico que cambiará la composición de la Biblia, añadiendo un nuevo evangelio. Un grupo de editores y religiosos busca dar la noticia después de traducir los escritos del hallazgo y darlo a conocer al mundo mediante una campaña publicitaria para la que contratan a Steven Randall, un publicista gringo.

La historia gira en torno al papel de Randall en esta empresa de promoción a nivel mundial y su e...more
Sarah
I can imagine this book caused a stir in the 70s when It was written. Unfortunately people only think of DaVinci code these days when it comes to Jesus Controversy.

An american public relations agent has been asked to come on board for a new bible being released. This is a completely new testament project. An ancient scroll, written by James(the brother of Jesus), gives the world new insight to the life and times of Christ.
What would happen if Jesus had not actually died on the cross, but had li...more
Winnie
In the ruins of the ancient Roman seaport of Ostia Antica, an Italian archaeologist has discovered a first-century papyrus,its faded Aramaic text revealing a new gospel written by James, younger brother of Jesus. The discovery will show the world a new Jesus Christ, fill the missing years of his ministry, contradict the existing accounts of his life and his spposed death. The the world at large, The Word -- if genuine -- will come as a revelation. To the syndicate of international aBible publish...more
Sean Mcdonald
I was pretty disappointed in this book as I had enjoyed Wallace's The Prize. Most summaries define this as a "thriller" but there weren't that many thrills for the length of the book. I did find out it got turned in to an 8 hour TV miniseries in the late 70s, and there's definitely enough material in the book to fill that much time, but I doubt I'd make it through this story again even as film.
Lance
Another book from the basement boxes. This story is similar to The Da Vinci Code. Only naughtier. That's why it only gets three stars. A manuscript is found that threatens to destroy Western Civilization 'cuz it sez things about Christ that most of the world wouldn't be able to handle without committing suicide and nuking the rest of the world that wouldn't. Just like Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, some geeky hero dude has to examine the manuscript, (only Wallace's character...more
Patricia
Just could not get into this book. The action picked up about half way through it, but even then I was skipping paragraphs. The "hero" of the book was not sympathetic at all and even naive at times for a man in his middle years. The only person I felt for was LeBrun. I really don't know if I can recommend this book to anyone. I don't know much about Irving Wallace, but if this book is any indication for his beliefs, than he doesn't believe in the Bible, in the faith of religious people, in relig...more
Roland Houtsch
Maybe it's the german translation, but this is so disappointing ... I thought I'd read the precursor of mystical historical literary thrillers, but W. is lightmiles from Ecco or Brown ... And the unanswered questions show sloppy plotting too
Becca
This book was recommended to me as an alternative to the Dan Brown fiascos, and I had high hopes. Maybe that's why it was a bit of let down. Although the writing is very different from Brown's beat-you-over-the-head-with-action-sequences style, it's still designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator, and it manages to combine slow and dull with flat, inconsistent characters and an assumption of a dumb reader. I found the story itself a bit less than inspired, and the ending a complete cop...more
Karina
This book is one of my favorites from my "Irving Wallace" days. That was over 20 years ago... But I still remember them fondly.
Christopher
humorous older biblical thriller, it's funny to think this spent 9 months on the NYT's #1 spot.

Just finished this, it was a sneaky book at about 650 pages?! Irving really pulls you in 2 directions when the 'international new testament' which you know are totally fake make it out to the mainstream only to be blindly accepted by the public.

Highly recommend this if you can find it.
Richard Katz
Very well written, erudite, and fast-paced novel. The plotting of The Word really works, while the underlying philosophical drama really doesn't. One review said "it reeks of the 1970s". Well, it does, but I just loved that. That aspect of the novel is akin to watching an Austin Powers movie! Made me nostalgic!
Bekah Chance-Revels
Written before the Davinci code but with a similar plot, this book drags for the first 200 pages. Too many details in the paragraphs, endless descriptions of rooms/people's appearances/traffic, etc that add nothing to the story. And the ending was just flat.
I wouldn't recommend it.
Carlos
I read It a long time ago but I still remember the shock. I was a catholic then so the theme was polemical. I really don't know how well has aged and I don't intent to reread It. Much better books to read I have, but if You are a fan of Wallace or religious fiction this is a book for You.
Abhishek
If you like Dan Brown, you'll like this.
Gives another encore to the clouded, covert facets of Christianity.
A slight taste of French tangled with English... Irving Wallace has written a masterpiece.

Lenghty--at times boring,repetitive...but enviuosly awesome :)
Kostina
It was an enjoyable read. It reads fast, the plot is interesting, chacrater development is decent, the issues raised relevent and could speak to many in the readership.
Frankly, I thought that Dan Brown "borrowed" so much from this book for his The Da Vinci Code.
Patricia Burroughs
I read this decades ago and recall thinking it was quite twisty and innovative and fascinating. I don't know if that's because I was young or because the book really was, but I'm giving stars based on my memory of the experience.
Ellen Taylor
This was a wonderful read in the way it went about trying to authenticating a new gospel of the Bible. It was intriguing the way it chronicled how the pages of manuscript were obtained and the impact on the main character.
Ginny
What if a new book of the New Testament was found. What if it was proven true? What is your faith and how solidly do you stand by it. These are the things that the protagonist and the reader must deal with in The Word.
Bksgal51
I read The Word a long time ago, but as I read it again, I realized that I didn't remember what I was reading. Irving Wallace does a fantastic job of luring his readers to read on...
I really enjoyed this book.
Terry Morrison
Pretty good for a forty year old book. Some Bible information that is intersting. Really good pl0ot line in the first and middle parts, Kind of contrived at the end.
Edward
Interesting premise, the ending was anti climatic, I think a more gifted writer could have turned out a much better plot progression and ending.
Sheila
Feb 26, 2013 Sheila rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Friends and family
Recommended to Sheila by: myself
Shelves: irving-wallace
I have read this book years ago. Still reading some of the other books that I have read before if I find this book would read it again.
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Irving Wallace was an American bestselling author and screenwriter. His extensively researched books included such page-turners as The Chapman Report (1960), about human sexuality; The Prize (1962), a fictional behind-the-scenes account of the Nobel Prizes; The Man, about a black man becoming president of the U.S. in the 1960s; and The Word (1972), about the discovery of a new gospel.

Wallace was b...more
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