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The First Apostle (Chris Bronson, #1)
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The First Apostle (Chris Bronson #1)

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  2,122 Ratings  ·  150 Reviews
An ancient inscription...

a dangerous secret?

An explosive debut thriller!

Chris Bronson is devastated when his best friend's wife, the woman he was secretly in love with, dies in a tragic accident. But when Bronson heads to Italy to console his friend, he finds the evidence of a break-in and a strange Latin inscription on a stone above the fireplace.

To decipher the stone
Paperback, 576 pages
Published August 5th 2008 by Bantam (first published 2008)
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Asteropê Is every TV show set in space on a space ship a rip off of Star Trek? Or every romance novel featuring a poor girl who falls in love with a prince a…moreIs every TV show set in space on a space ship a rip off of Star Trek? Or every romance novel featuring a poor girl who falls in love with a prince a rip off of Cinderella? Or every book about a mafia don and crime family a rip off of The Godfather? No. My point is, while Da Vinci Code certainly popularized the genre and allowed these books to find traction in publication, I think it's unfair to lump them ALL as rip offs of the Da Vinci Code. Some are better than others and some are better written and more interesting than the Da Vinci Code. Also, while I cannot remember the author or book at this time, I do recall reading one author stating he had a book written YEARS ago, but no publisher wanted it - then Da Vinci Code came out and suddenly publishers were interested. It's possible many authors had ideas for these types of books and stories, but there was no market for them prior to Da Vinci Code came out. I'd say for those that do not like the formula of this genre, than these types of books are not for them. They all share similarities and commonalities in plots, much like many romances, scifi, action thrillers and other genres have commonalities with each other. Just last year, for example, I noted at least 10 thrillers featuring ISIS as the terrorists - and they're not all ripping off of each other. Similarities and common themes will happen. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jun 30, 2012 Mike rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Anyone
I’m giving this book a so-so score because I never got over the “it’s okay, but…” feeling while reading it. I know others may feel it is a stronger, better book, but for me it is one of the weaker historical-secret/knowledge-race-to-the-truth stories. I don’t fault the author’s research or basic idea about the first apostle, but the plot was too improbable for me.

That may sound a bit harsh when dealing with fiction, but this book and others like it purport to take a few facts either from our own
Jul 10, 2012 Matt rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
I always enjoy a good religious thriller and James Becker did not disappoint. A book that forces the reader to examine what they (may) believe, leaving more questions than answers, is one that I will always praise, as long as it is written in a convincing manner. Becker uses some historical event (accurate or not, he narrates it as though it could happen) and places a great murder mystery atop it, all in the hopes of luring the reader to keep their focus on the end result.

Becker's examination of
Mary Corbal
La primera parte del libro es muy interesante y se merece cinco estrellas, pero entonces, en mi opinión, la trama pierde fuerza. Me hubiese gustado más si la acción se hubiese desarrollado por entero en Italia, porque al cambiar de escenario y de personajes, la historia es menos interesante.
Mar 11, 2017 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, and best, of the Chris Bronson series. I was rooting for Chris from the start.
Any Length
Aug 05, 2012 Any Length rated it did not like it
This book had potential which never came to anything. The writing was terrible. All characters sounded like their words sprung from the same brain. It's not enough to describe people differently, they then have to have different ways of talking, using different phrases. Although most of the characters were italian, they spoke in a stereotypical english gentlemen's fashion, with a stiff upper lip and no emotions showing. Hello, is this how the italians talk? I don't believe so.
The plot, although
Aug 07, 2012 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, hist-fiction
This book is based around the race to discover proof of the origins of christianity, and has a pretty good plot line on the face of it. Much of the information comes in the form of long rather bizarre explanations from one or other of lie main characters which is a let down, and frankly chris bronson makes some of the most outlandish deductive leaps I have ever come across, and despite having no apparent background knowledge of the early church fathers or the first century Roman Empire these lea ...more
Rodrigo Tello
Me gustó. es una novela que, sin ser la gran cosa, mantiene el interés hasta el final y no defrauda. El tema religioso, sí, está algo difuso, como que no termina de cerrar y no se sabe bien dónde quiere llegar el autor con las teorías que expone. En fin, una lectura para las vacaciones o para un fin de semana, no esperen más que eso.
Dec 28, 2010 Zyberk rated it really liked it
At first glance, I told myself "aah, another Da Vinci Code plot". Its true. But somehow, after a few pages, the book draws me in. I find myself having difficulties in putting this book down. I will surely go and pick up the sequel - Moses Stone.

Read it guys, you wont be disappointed.
May 12, 2011 Christina rated it really liked it
Brilliant! A much better version of the Da Vinci code that is lighter than Angels and Demons. A nice adventure/thriller read, you can't put it down. I expected some bull about Christianity stuff but this book is actually worth reading.
Sep 25, 2009 Dugger rated it liked it
Will give James Becker another go. Enjoyed this one. Along the lines of Paul Christopher and Chris Kuzneski.
Amaka Azie
Mar 23, 2017 Amaka Azie rated it liked it
I found this book in the garage while tidying up. It was probably left there by the previous owner of our house because I don't recall buying it. The cover looked engaging so I decided to read it.
It started out very interesting, and the first few characters were captivating, but it soon became unrealistic and started to fall flat. I mean, the fact that Angela a museum worker and Branson a copper was able to decipher historical puzzles that had eluded scholars for centuries with minimal help wa
Nicolas Shump
Jun 02, 2012 Nicolas Shump rated it liked it
James Becker's The First Apostle is a work of mystery fiction in the vein of Dan Brown's work. Though I enjoyed this book, I would have to admit that I find Brown's work to be more compelling to read. They both suffer from the tendency to make characters, especially villains, one dimensional or caricatures. Once again, the villain is the Catholic Church, who is in league with La Cosa Nostra in this particular tale. Like Brown, Becker attempts to give his work a veneer of historical accuracy, but ...more
Alex Murphy
Sep 14, 2016 Alex Murphy rated it it was ok
Shelves: adventure-calls
After the Da Vinci Code, the amount of religious conspiracy adventure books that came around was massive. I think the First Apostle was one of these books.
The plot starts with a break in, at an English couple holiday retreat in Italy, that ends with the death of the young wife. The thieves weren’t after money, but a 2000-year-old Latin inscription hidden in the house saying ‘Here lie the liars.’ The husband contacts his best friend Chris Bronson, a top cop in the Met, who doesn’t play by the rul
John Marsh
Aug 04, 2016 John Marsh rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 25, 2017 Tom rated it did not like it
Shelves: junk
Apr 19, 2013 Jeremy rated it liked it
a couple buy an old farmhouse in rural Italy and set about renovating it. Whilst clearing off the old plaster and preparing for alterations they find a strange inscription above the fireplace. Trying to translate the inscription from Latin to English they stumble into a net cast across the web looking for the combinations of words they are trying to translate. A certain Italian organisation comes visiting but not to help them, to try to take what they have found. But all they have found is the i ...more
Susie G
Feb 09, 2013 Susie G rated it liked it
This book was not as good as I had hoped it would be, but it wasn't awful. "It was OK" describes my rating, although two stars (the "It was OK" rating) seemed a bit low so I have rated it three stars. The book didn't really start to pick up until about halfway through (First it had to be explained how a policeman/former military dude whose ex-wife just happened to work at a museum specializing in ancient history ended up in the Italian villa where the inscription was found, and why he wanted to ...more
Pandu Nugroho
Sep 23, 2013 Pandu Nugroho rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 06, 2013 Dipanjan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"The First Apostle" started off pretty well. It did have pace and a promise. But somewhere down the line, the author lost the grip on the plot, completely. In the end it rounded off as a very wannabe Dan Brown. Let's look at what disappointed me one by one:

1. The entire controversy was extremely weak. In fact, it was a force fit.
2. The characters were not built up well. The protagonist had no strong points which makes him stand out. Neither did the other supporting cast.
3. The villains or the "
Feb 26, 2012 Vivienne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been a fan of conspiracy thrillers for years, long before Dan Brown hit the best seller lists with 'Angels and Demons', so I am always pleased to find a new author in the genre able to weave the historical aspects with the usual traits of the thriller genre.

While this novel is not as fast-paced as some, I rather appreciated this as having characters bouncing about from one dangerous situation to another without taking a breather can be exhausting.

I liked Chris Bronson as a lead as his invo
Pat Stearman
Jan 25, 2015 Pat Stearman rated it liked it
Well, for a Reading Group book it was certainly an easy read. Plot full of holes, very sub Dan Brown with echoes of Kate Mosse.... but readable and OK if you like that kind of thing.
Notes during reading: Our hero comes to the initial conclusion as to why friends were killed etc, far too quickly with no clues.
The inscription would have been in Italian if it was only 600 years old,(ie not 2000) rather than in Latin? Haven't checked this out but I very much doubt it - Latin was universal langua
Dec 02, 2010 Kelley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I almost put this book down after just a couple of pages. It’s another story of how the Catholic Church is hiding big secrets from the general population and Jesus had nothing to do with Christianity. Of course, there is some sort of document that can prove this and it’s been hidden for a couple thousand years. Where have I heard this before? This time, the Mafia is involved along with a British cop that was in love with his best friends’ girl even though he was married. Oh, and he ends up on th ...more
May 02, 2016 Dan rated it it was ok
Even for someone who rarely reads I can say this wasn't written brilliantly. I got right into the book at the start and it had the makings of a good story so needing to know what it was all about kept me reading till the end. The way in which the characters guessed the next steps rather than working it out but getting it spot on every time was a bit tiresome, nothing like Robert Langdon and the clever ways he would interpret things. Thought the ending was ok but the book probably could've done w ...more
Sep 23, 2012 Trisha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Een vrouw wordt wakker in Rome en ontdekt dat twee mannen in haar huis boven de open haard aan het hakken zijn. De volgende dag wordt ze dood gevonden.
Chris Bronson, een politieman, steunt de achtergebleven echtgenoot. Al snel ontdekken ze dat het geen toeval is en komt Bronson terecht in een zoektocht met achtervolgers die nergens voor terugdeinzen.

Een **** heeft het zeker van mij. Het boek leest lekker weg en het sleepte me mee. De combinatie van geschiedenis en heden is leuk.

Over de auteu
May 03, 2014 Neil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another book with its roots firmly in the past, although this is a new author to me. For once the principal character is not some secret agent or based in a large city. His name is Chris Bronson and he is an English Policeman working from Tonbridge Wells of all places. The characters have been as well thought out as the plot, and as you can guess from the title the plot does involve estalished religion. It all starts innocently enough with an English couple who have recently brought a property i ...more
Jul 03, 2009 Amanda rated it it was ok
Shelves: thrillers
Book #61 of 2009

This was an OK book. The beginning was a little slow and then it picked up about 1/4 of the way into it. My main problem with it was that the "explanations" such as they were came from long dialogues from one of the main characters. This was alright for some of the background information, but annoyed me when this device was used to explain the ending and the whole "secret" they'd been trying to recover/hide (depending on the character). I mean, three people had read this supposed
Vicki Elia
Mar 27, 2014 Vicki Elia rated it liked it
Audiobook Review

This book got a rough start out of the gate. I was dissinterested and unengaged, so I stopped reading. I decided to pick it back up later. After a few audio hours of meandering by the characters, an actual plot seems to evolve. Chris Bronson's best friend's wife dies, and a story of murder, mayhem, and mystery unfolds. Eventually, this becomes and interesting story woven with intriguing historical facts, sufficient to hold the reader's belief.

Becker would have gotten 4 stars fro
Bob Rodkin
Mar 17, 2016 Bob Rodkin rated it liked it
I debated a 3.5 or even 4 rating but decided the end of book disappointment I felt warranted a 3. Even then I think I sort of "carried" it based on my higher than average interest level in the subject matter, time period and geographical setting. The first 3/4 of the novel was quite good, although parts were a bit wordy and I found myself thinking, "okay, get on with it." Then the last 1/4 seemed like the author was pushing up against a word count deadline or something and rushed through what I ...more
Feb 18, 2015 Gab rated it liked it
This book was OK ... there was something not quite there with the writing though and I can't quite put my finger on it. It wasn't as much of a page turner as I was hoping. An English couple buys an old Italian farmhouse and discover a stone hidden near the fireplace with some writing in Latin on it. The wife's internet search is flagged by the Vatican who calls in the Casa Nostra to assist. The woman is killed and her hubby calls in his best friend (who also happens to be in love with the woman! ...more
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What's The Name o...: SOLVED. Can you name this book series? [s] 3 102 Sep 15, 2015 09:02AM  
  • The Sacred Bones
  • The Lost Temple
  • The Pegasus Secret (Lang Reilly #1)
  • Ark of Fire (Caedmon Aisquith, #1)
  • Pyramid
  • Bible of the Dead
  • Sphinx
  • On the Fifth Day (Thomas Knight, #1)
  • The Alexander Cipher (Daniel Knox, #1)
  • The Sword Of The Templars (Templar, #1)
  • The Last Testament
  • The Secret Crown (Payne & Jones, #6)
  • The Atlantis Code (Thomas Lourds, #1)
  • The Hidden Oasis
James Becker spent over twenty years in the Royal Navy's Fleet Air arm and served during Falklands War . Throughout his career he has been involved in covert operations in many of the world's hotspots; places like Yemen, Northern Ireland and Russia. He is an accomplished combat pistol shot and has an abiding interest in ancient and medieval history.
More about James Becker...

Other Books in the Series

Chris Bronson (7 books)
  • The Moses Stone (Chris Bronson, #2)
  • The Messiah Secret (Chris Bronson, #3)
  • The Nosferatu Scroll (Chris Bronson, #4)
  • Echo of the Reich (Chris Bronson, #5)
  • The Lost Testament (Chris Bronson, #6)
  • The Templar Heresy (Chris Bronson #7)

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