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In the Beginning

(Mars Origin "I" Mystery #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  134 ratings  ·  72 reviews
Man only uses ten percent of his brain. What if he had the ability to use the other ninety percent?
What if he already has?
Perhaps the history you've been taught wasn't the truth.

A fifty year old journal.
2,000 year old manuscripts hidden with the Dead Sea Scrolls . . .
The answer to Earth's ancient mysteries revealed.

In 1949, D
Paperback, First, 335 pages
Published June 11th 2013 by Media Web Publishing, Inc
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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  134 ratings  ·  72 reviews

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Jason Parent
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I always admire a book that bravely tackles controversial topics. In the Beginning is not a Christian book in the preaching sense. In fact, I wouldn't put it past the Catholic Church to call the novel heretical. The work certainly finds its premise in overtly Christian themes, mainly the Book of Genesis and the origin of humanity on Earth. Through a work of fiction (and should be read as such), the author confidently offers an alternative view of mankind's beginnings, all wrapped in conspiracy s ...more
Lex Allen
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was all set for a thriller. I expected a Dan Brown or James Rollins kind of reading ride. I’d latched my seatbelt, gripped the sides of my Kindle Fire, right thumb at the bottom corner ready to tap the next page up as fast as my eyes could read the words and… it didn’t happen. There was no wham-bam-thank you-ma’am race to an unbelievably exciting conclusion that would, were it not fiction, set the world on its ear and usher in a new era of understanding about mankind’s birth on the planet we c ...more
Ceet Ceet
Jul 25, 2013 rated it liked it
I was given this book by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I have to admit that I’ am somewhat conflicted about this book. In the beginning (no pun intended) the premise and first chapter hooked me right in. An ancient manuscript is discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls, and once translated is found to be damaging to the world and religion as we know it. The mystery of it all, and the execution by the author had me excited to read more.

Then the book split off into
John Bell
Oct 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am a bit of a conspiracy theorist. I also enjoy pondering the question of "where did we come from?" and "are we truly alone out there?", so Abby L. Vandiver's IN THE BEGINNING was right up my alley. Even though the topic she covers have been covered many times before (apparently the novel was originally written in the late-1990s), Vandiver's plot is fresh, her research and attention to detail is top-notch, and her characterizations are true. I especially enjoyed the 'flashbacks' involving the ...more
Antonio Jr.
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Abby Vandiver's novel, "In The Beginning" is equal parts Indiana Jones and Dan Brown, and is aptly named to boot. This historical thriller is centered around deciphering an ancient mystery about mankind's origins locked away in the Dead Sea scrolls.

The novel skips back and forth between the past and the story's present-day events. The vignettes on the past hint at the jarring truth contained within the religious texts. These secrets, if made known, could bring down several of the wor
Marsha Cornelius
Jul 26, 2015 rated it liked it
A convoluted and tedious plot. At 50+ chapters, this book could be cut in half, and a lot of extraneous fluff removed.
There are lots of annoying jumps in tense. For example: ‘What was he looking at? I wonder is he still smiling. Man, he’s so tall. I glanced down at his legs.’
I couldn’t get into the lead character at all. She’s a biblical archeologist with a hormone problem. She screams, cries, pulls her hair, spins in circles. Her friends and family tease that maybe she is going through m
Kathryn Dionne
Sep 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Where did we come from? It is a question that lies deep within the hearts of man. Abby Vandiver creates a very compelling story centered around this theme. Her story combines fact with fiction and is beautifully driven by her complexed characters. The author has masterfully told this well-conceived story through the eyes of Justin Dickerson, a depressed and tormented biblical archaeologist in search of her purpose. But when she begins to translate a lost Dead Sea scroll, what she discovers contr ...more
Julie Powell
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was given this book by the author for review. I will say that although I'm not a 'believer', I thought this story was well argued with a strong basis, even if I didn't agree with it.

The writing was very good, except for the typos. I enjoyed the dialogue and the family bond which made this tale believable, giving it an authentic feel.

I have given it five stars because it hooked me and kept me reading despite my opposition to the premise - and I always like something that
Nancy Johnson
Sep 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Extraordinary book, with realistic characters, in some cases, irritatingly so – purposefully mastered by the author – and the plot is unpredictable. Great storytelling. Though the writing needs quite a bit of editing, even without it, I found the book, especially the latter half, to be a joy and couldn’t wait to get to the end of it… and am looking forward to see whether I’ll learn the rest of our history in a sequel.
Allison Kohn
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the beginning hooked me first because of it's reference to archaeology, it kept my attention because of the interesting characters - if it had no plot, the characters would have kept me reading. The plot, though, is gripping in and of itself. This is a book to read purely for the pleasure of reading. It is an adventure through the minds of human nature and the "what might be or have been".
L.K. Simonds
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's easy to see why Ms. Vandiver's debut novel is a Kindle #1 bestseller. The author begins with an engaging premise and tells a great story from there. I loved the ending and I wanted to read the next book in this series. Smart move! Thank you, Ms. Vandiver, for a thoroughly imagined tale, and for telling it well.
This is a debut novel for this Author, and promises to be the start of a very interesting series if a few of the wrinkles in this one can be ironed out.

The main protagonist came across as a rather unlikeable and extremely arrogant character, and although the Author tries to attribute these characteristics to the emotional state this central person is in it really didn’t come out of the page very well. What could have been used as a really solid basis to explain the motivation, or lack of it, in the mai
Stefan Vucak
May 10, 2014 rated it liked it
In 1949, radical Dead Sea Scrolls manuscripts are translated that tell man was not created by God. The editor of the translation committee decides to keep this a secret and buries the manuscripts in the cave where they were found. In 1997, Justin Dickerson, a Biblical archaeologist, is invited to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem to attend the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the Scrolls, and to study what could be the Q document, the source from which Matthew and Luke wrote their gospels. ...more
Colleen M. Chesebro
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A Biblical Archaeologist named Justin Dickerson decides that she needs a change to her dull academic lifestyle. She accepts an invitation to attend the 50th Jubilee of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and participates in the last of the translation process regarding the ancient writings. While working on the interpretations of these writings, she stumbles upon a journal that one of the original translators compiled. This amazing artifact propels her to search for humankind’s true beginnings ...more
Stephen Clynes
Sep 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In the Beginning is a tale of two mysteries. One involves a conspiracy surrounding the Dead Sea Scrolls and the other grabs the reader to uncover the hidden agenda behind this book. Abby has an interesting writing style. She uses that very feminine tactic of planting an idea in the readers mind with a hint, then bringing it up again later with a nag and finally repeating what has happened before.

This novel starts with a bold prologue declaring a prophetic vision. Chapter 1 begins in
Yawatta Hosby
Aug 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, history
***I received a free copy in exchange for a book review***

I enjoyed this book. It was easy to follow because each chapter was labelled with a place and date. The story switched from the 1940’s to the 1990’s often. It was written through Archaeologist Justin’s first person point-of-view. She was depressed but stayed focused on her job. I admired that she kept moving–some people completely shut down emotionally. Her family was a trip. I loved their back and forth with teasing each othe
Ginger Gelsheimer
Oct 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read In the Beginning because I love conspiracy theory and in fact, write it myself. I was interested to find out how Ms. Vandiver would weave her story. The concept of the hunt for the missing manuscripts from the Dead Sea Scrolls and what they may uncover was exciting and I kept reading to find out first, if Justin would ever find it and second, what in the world was in it. I liked the intertwine of the characters from the past with Justin, the main character, in the present.

I di
Demelza Carlton
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the beginning, I loved the concept. Something like a Dan Brown book, but more the more I read, the more it seemed like A Beautiful Mind, with a much broader conspiracy and a very unusual main character.

I think Vandiver's portrayal of Justin's depressed mindset throughout the book is superb. Frighteningly accurate, she describes Justin's thoughts, actions and reactions to people and events that will ring true for anyone who's experienced the kind of incapacitating depression Justin does. Of
Emma Jaye
Jan 01, 2014 rated it liked it
It’s taken me a day to digest this book and consider what to put in a review. My initial reaction was that the plot holes, and the focus on the lead character’s family and mental health issues detracted from the story of searching for the scroll and making the translation, essentially ‘finding out the truth.’
However I think I was looking at the book from the angle of thriller rather than Christian fiction. I gather that the story is loosely based on the author’s family, so the large number of e
Dustin Stevens
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In the Beginning grabs readers in the opening pages, hitting them with a taut premise, then steps back and grounds the story with solid characters and storylines.

Despite the weighty subject matter of the text, the prose never comes off heavy-handed or as an information dump. Instead, backstory and scientific fact are doled out in manageable chunks, used to move along the story instead of the other way around.

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the book though is the extr
Aug 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a great book, and it drew me right into the mystery immediately. It's a unique and fresh look at the mystery and conspiracy that surrounded the Dead Sea Scrolls from the moment they were found, and even long after the translations were finally released. There are very few books or movies that I don't have figured out by the time I get to the middle of the second chapter, but not this one, and, in fact, the last four pages found me with my jaw dropped open.
The only reason I didn't
Rob Rowntree
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
In The Beginning is firmly embedded in the Dan Brown, James Rollins, Tom Knox arena; a book dealing with a secret history, missing Dead Sea Scrolls, and the very origins of mankind. But unlike those other authors, Abby Vandiver has taken a different path. Rather than having her protagonists fighting off peril at every turn, she has engineered a plot revolving around strong family bonds, the versatility families can bring to problems and above all, resilience in the face of ridicule.

Abby Vandiver
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
More mystery than sci-fi. Not action packed or fast paced but a page turner all the same. An excellent read, first time author Abby L. Vandiver touches upon depression, family relationships, and history and mixes it with humor and suspense creating a true enjoyable, thought provoking read.

Justin Dickerson, a Biblical archaeologist has much personality, coming alive on the pages. She suffers from depression, which has made her mean, paranoid and obsessed. Those, however, work in her f
Gemma Farrow
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was very curious about this story, and have only read a few fiction books based on Christianity.
In the Beginning is a well-written, constructed story of belief, truth, faith and What If, pertaining to the question Where did Mankind come from?
At first I found it hard to like the main character Justin. She was moody, aloof, with a snappy turn of phrase. But, as the story went on, I realised, she was growing on me. I began to understand what drove her and why she was down in the dumps, and sear
Bill Ward
Dec 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a strong 4 stars, especially for the mystery and the originality of the story. The author has an easy to follow style and is particularly strong at bringing the characters alive. Justin, the heroine, is flawed and as a result more interesting.
At the heart of the story is the mystery of where does the human race come from and the story immediately captures our interest. The author builds a believable case for an unusual answer to that question.
For a first novel it is a great succes
T.R. Robinson
This in many ways is a tale of mystery within which the reader is taken on a virtual treasure hunt. Faith and belief and the fear of being undermined are central to the story. Although biblically based (the protagonist is a Biblical Archaeologist) this is a work of fiction. Those who would naturally shy away from anything religious should think twice because this is more of an adventure story than a critique of faith or belief.

The plot and characters are well written. It is easy to v
Aug 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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Aug 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
In The Beginning (Mars Origin "I" Series, #1) by Abby L. Vandiver

DISCLAIMER: I was given a copy of this book by the author (via Goodreads/Shut Up and Read/Read It and Reap) in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.



This story jumps between storylines in the late 1940s (Dr. Yeoman and Dr. Sabir) as well as the late 1990s (Justin Dickerson, et al.). However, the bulk of the story centers around Justin Dickerso
Kathryn Svendsen
Justin Dickerson is a Biblical Archaeologist who discovers that some of the 2,000 year-old scrolls discovered along with the Dead Sea Scrolls have may have been repressed. She sets out to find the truth.

In the Beginning’s basic plot line sounds like a typical Biblical historical novel. Trust me. It’s not. The secret that Justin finds in the scrolls is definitely unique. It certainly not where I thought the book was going to go, so it gets high marks for a distinctive story-line.
Norm Hamilton
Nov 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Justin Dickerson is a Bible Archeologist searching for the truth about a manuscript that was originally located with the Dead Sea Scrolls, but that may have been destroyed—a translation survives. It may hold the answer to what truly happened, “In the Beginning.”

She (yes, she has a male name) is a strong Creationist in her belief and has found that her research has always backed that up … but what secrets does this mysterious manuscript hold? Why did someone try to destroy it? Will it
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Indie Author's Ma...: R4R - In the Beginning - OPEN - 8 left 3 10 Sep 12, 2013 03:28AM  
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WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLING AUTHOR, Abby L. Vandiver is the author of three cozy mystery series - Logan Dickerson, Normal Junction, and Tiny House, and one mystery sci-fi series, The Mars I Origin. She also penned a historical fiction book, At the End of the Line with Kathryn Dionne.

Recently, Abby contracted with Henery Press for the three-book Romaine Wilder series. The first book

Other books in the series

Mars Origin "I" Mystery (3 books)
  • Irrefutable Proof (Mars Origin "I" Mystery, #2)
  • Incarnate (Mars Origin "I" Mystery #3)