Read Pentecost by J.F. Penn Online

pentecost

A power kept secret for 2000 years. A woman who stands to lose everything.India. When a nun is burned alive on the sacred ghats of Varanasi, and the stone she carried is stolen, an international hunt is triggered for the relics of the early church.Forged in the fire and blood of martyrs, the Pentecost stones have been handed down through generations of Keepers who kept theA power kept secret for 2000 years. A woman who stands to lose everything.India. When a nun is burned alive on the sacred ghats of Varanasi, and the stone she carried is stolen, an international hunt is triggered for the relics of the early church.Forged in the fire and blood of martyrs, the Pentecost stones have been handed down through generations of Keepers who kept their power and locations secret.Until now.The Keepers are being murdered, the stones stolen by those who would use them for evil in a world transformed by religious fundamentalism.Oxford University psychologist Morgan Sierra is forced into the search when her sister and niece are held hostage. She is helped by Jake Timber from the mysterious ARKANE, a British government agency specializing in paranormal and religious experience. Morgan must risk her own life to save her family, but will she ultimately be betrayed?From ancient Christian sites in Spain, Italy and Israel to the far reaches of Iran and Tunisia, Morgan and Jake must track down the stones through the myths of the early church in a race against time before a new Pentecost is summoned, this time powered by the fires of evil.The first in the ARKANE series, PENTECOST is a fast-paced thriller that explores the edges of faith against a backdrop of early Christian history, archaeology and psychology....

Title : Pentecost
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 10273593
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 238 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Pentecost Reviews

  • Graham Downs
    2018-10-26 17:31

    Having developed a great respect for the author through her Twitter and YouTube accounts, I've been meaning to read this book for quite some time.I have to say it's not really what I expected. I rather expected the title to be more metaphorical, that it would be a thriller with only passing hints (at best) at Christianity. What I got was something deeply entrenched in Christian history and tradition (and some extra bits made up and thrown in). Don't get me wrong, that's not a bad thing!Aspects of the story reminded me very much of Indiana Jones (only with a female protagonist), as the heroine goes on an epic quest to retrieve the twelve stones of the Apostles before time runs out. Along the way, we're treated to descriptions of some of the most beautiful and historically significant places in Christianity, and told a little of the history of each. She's helped along the way by ARKANE, an international organisation dedicated to the preservation and understanding of relics from all sorts of faiths. Another strong image that kept popping into my head was at the descriptions of ARKANE's vaults and electronic library, where I couldn't help thinking of the television show, Warehouse 13.I enjoyed the story, and found the premise to be quite believable. Penn definitely did her research for this one, and her degree in Theology is evident in her knowledge (rather, her protagonist's knowledge) of the places and their histories.I just found the writing to be a little... amateurish. For one, my brain kept inserted comma's where there were none (but in my mind, should've been), and I sometimes did have to do double-takes to understand what was being said, when a comma would've made all the difference! The author's uses of the pronouns "he" and "she" is also confusing at times, when there are multiple "he"'s in a scene, and it's not immediately obvious which one she's referring to. Ms Penn furthermore has a tendency to over-use the phrase "tears pricked his/her eyes", and I could've used a little more variation in the language.Finally, I'm not entirely sure why Penn decided to use the US spellings of words like "color" (being British), while using the UK convention for title abbreviations like "Dr" and "Mr". Of course, this last point is just the editor in me coming out, and I'm sure no-one else will notice!All the above comments about language and punctuation are of course personal preference, though, and I'm sure people have had similar thoughts about my OWN writing.All said, it's a good story, and it held my attention enough that I wanted to keep reading to find out what happens next.I might just pick up the next story in the series!

  • Joel Friedlander
    2018-10-19 01:42

    I really enjoyed this debut thriller from the multi-talented Joanna Penn. The first in a projected series of thrillers based on religious and cultural history, it features an engaging heroine in Morgan Sierra, a secretive underground organization and some creepy villains. The book is a little like a Dan Brown novel but with better writing. The action moves from one exotic locale to another but you'll be surprised just how much you learn about early church history along the way.It kept me going until the last page and I'm looking forward to the sequel, Prophecy. Highly recommended.

  • Lindsey
    2018-11-01 20:32

    The 12 Pentecost stones have been hidden for 2,000 years, but don't worry, our heroes find them all in a couple of days time.

  • F.R.
    2018-11-17 19:39

    I think I picked up STONE OF FIRE at exactly the right moment. After a week filled with dark and distressing headlines, it was a fantastic relief to immerse myself in a piece of sheer escapism. That’s what it is at its core – unpretentious escapist fun. It’s just happy whisking you from exotic locale to exotic locale, asking you to cling on to its helter-skelter spirit of adventure and not look back. Whisked together in its story of powerful ephemera from Jesus’s time, are an Oxford academic with military skills, a secret organisation, another secret (but more evil) organisation, and a mad American billionaire with a diabolical scheme. The whole thing is preposterous, but undeniably gripping in its bonkers way.This week Roger Moore also died, the kind of news which, when it broke in context of Tuesday, made me feel how lucky and incredible it is that some people get to live to eighty-nine and have full and rich lives. But STONE OF FIRE, as well as stealing me away from the horrible headlines, also seemed like a strange tribute to him. To describe this book succinctly, it’s basically a Roger Moore James Bond film with a thick topping of religious Macguffins.If you get chance, please visit my blog for book, TV and film reviews - as well as whatever else takes my fancy - at frjameson.comLIke my Facebook pageOr follow me on Twitter or Instagram: @frjameson.

  • Kristen Jett
    2018-10-18 17:49

    As found onPen and MuseSecret KJ fact: I am OBSESSED with the Indiana Jones movies. (Not counting the last one, because no.) So the thought of reading a book with a character like Indiana Jones, but female had me bouncing for joy. I didn’t always relate to her, but I did admire her. I’m drawn to novels with strong female protagonists, and found Morgan Sierra to fit the bill. Morgan Sierra is pretty kick-ass…or at least she used to be before she gave up her Special-Ops life to live a more quiet life in England. Funny thing about living a quiet life is no one ever expects you to have a past. What I loved most about Morgan is that she’s an intelligent heroine – I didn’t spend the novel yelling at her actions, or cursing her choices.If a female Indiana Jones met THE DA VINCI CODE, you’d get PENTECOST. It’s an exciting opening to a series, but would work well enough as a stand alone as well. (You guys know how I feel about that!) Like The Da Vinci Code, the story is woven through religious history, creating a fictional prophecy that needs to be unraveled so that the heroine can save the day – and her family. This blend of fact and fiction seems to heighten the feel of adventure in the story for the reader.While being a story involving religion, religion doesn’t become a central theme. There’s no browbeating, preaching, or really any hints of what the author’s personal religious beliefs are. I found this important – and impressive – as I can’t read any book that feels like the author is preaching to me, whether I agree or not.High paced action? Check.Strong, well-crafted characters? Check.Adventure and excitement? Check.Romance? Check.All and all, I’d call this an intellectually exciting read. I had a hard time putting this book down – even when I had to read books that I had specific deadlines for.

  • Seeley James
    2018-10-18 23:46

    Morgan Sierra, an Oxford psychologist and former Israeli Army conscript, finds herself the target of an attack by a shadowy group of religious fanatics known as Thanatos. Her sister and niece are kidnapped by another religious whacko and Morgan is left to save everyone. Luckily, a military hunk from a long forgotten branch of the English bureaucracy called ARKANE offers a helping hand. Sorta. We understand early on that ARKANE and Morgan have differing end games planned. Nonetheless, they work together to solve ancient riddles and take on the bad guys. Until he walks out on her. The scum.Joanna Penn achieves what Steve Berry dreams of, a thriller that takes the reader deep into remote locations, ancient myths, and local histories with a passionate, compelling voice. Where Steve Berry’s passages read like a travelogue, Ms. Penn flows like an adventure with an enthusiastic guide. No doubt this is due to her Masters in Theology and her love of psychology. She uses her knowledge to flesh out a thriller with real details lovingly told. And oddly it is not a religious book.For a full review, visit Review of Pentecost on SeeleyJames.com

  • Werner
    2018-10-23 00:36

    Pentecost is Joanna Penn’s debut thriller novel and it’s a good one.The hero, Morgan Sierra, is a biblical scholar and an Oxford trained clinical psychologist. Before becoming an academic she was a member of the Israeli Defense Forces, where she was trained in combat and uses the self-defense art of Krav Maga to kick some serious ass in this fast-paced religious thriller.Morgan and her sister are keepers of two of the 12 Pentecost stones once carried by the Apostles. The stones came from the rock that covered the tomb of Jesus and together the stones are believed to hold incredible mystical powers.Morgan’s sister and niece are kidnapped by Joseph Everett, a wealthy and sadistic madman, who wants Morgan to find the rest of the stones and bring them to him – so he can use their power to resurrect his dying brother.This mission sends her on a globe-hopping, rollercoaster ride of adventures, tracing the footsteps of the Apostles, to find the stones of the Pentecost – before her sister and niece are sacrificed.She’s aided by Jake Timber from the ARKANE group, a secret British government agency. They specialize in locating powerful paranormal and religious objects, and keeping them safe from other groups like Thanatos (the Greek personification of death), who seek to use the stones for their own evil ends.Joanna Penn’s passion for the subject is evident by the in-depth research she conducted to craft this story. Given the rich descriptions of places in the story, it’s obvious she’s been to many of them.As you read the book you’ll feel influences of Dan Brown thrillers and Indiana Jones adventures. The characters are richly drawn and stand out every bit as much as those in Clive Cussler novels. Pentecost will definitely appeal to all thriller fans.The story is immediately engaging and has you caring not only for the main character, but even finding sympathy for the antagonist. It hits the right plot points and has some good twists and is well-paced, increasing in intensity right to the explosive ending.This was a very solid first effort, and I can only imagine the novelist Joanna will evolve into as she continues to thrill her fans. I can hardly wait to see what adventures Morgan faces in Joanna’s new thriller Prophecy.Pentecost is a real pager turner. Get it, read it and you too will become a fan.

  • Tony
    2018-11-15 20:34

    Mix history, fast-action and fiction together and you get Joanna Penn's debut novel, Pentecost. Each page prompts you to turn to the next one, making it difficult for you to put this book down. This thriller is set in the Christian history that most are familiar with, but takes a new look at it through the author's creative and intriguing fiction that is woven throughout the story. The characters, plot and action weave together keep your interest piqued on every page. A lot of comparisons have been made to Indiana Jones, Lora Croft, The Da Vinci Code, and others, but Penn has created an entertaining work that stands on its own. I sincerely hope that Pentecost is the first of many fast-paced thrillers from this debut author.

  • Stephen Clynes
    2018-11-12 21:41

    Follow Morgan Sierra as she searches for the Pentecost stones in this thriller about religious relics.Joanna writes a wonderful and entertaining thriller that should appeal to all readers regardless of their faith or views on religion. Her book has a lovely mix of fact and fiction. There is lots of history and background in this story which is gently explained. You do not need to be a religious scholar to understand what is going on because as this story unfolds, the characters explain both the nature of faith and the importance of the Pentecost stones.I found Stone of Fire a very interesting read because of all the detail within the plot. Joanna has done a tremendous amount of research to build her story around the Pentecost and this depth is a joy to read. This book works on a number of levels, the concept of faith, conspiracies, secret rooms and societies plus adventure and the thrill of the chase. The whole feel of this book is very similar to the average Dan Brown novel but for all the right reasons. Stone of Fire was a pleasure to read. I loved the writing style which was very descriptive, educated, informative and with an extensive vocabulary. The whole story was bright and refreshing. It was a very entertaining tale and because I am an Atheist, I found it very funny! Joanna does not poke fun at religion but it made me laugh! She writes a very convincing tale that is verified by lots of detail and background. It was lovely that when the story ends she includes some author notes to explain which parts were fact and which were fiction in case you were confused. She gave me what I want from my reading experience, a refreshing trip into another world and for that I vote her the top score of 5 stars.I used to read a daily newspaper and did not bother with books. But a passenger left behind a copy of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown on my coach and I took it on holiday with me in June 2007. I enjoyed reading it so much that I abandoned my daily newspaper and moved onto books instead. I have never looked back and I feel that a novel like Stone of Fire can very easily turn on people and make them want to adopt reading books as a hobby. I view Stone of Fire as a stepping stone for readers to get the bug of a media that can give them years of pleasure.

  • Jordan McCollum
    2018-11-10 19:43

    I followed the author a while back and was really excited to be offered a free review copy.Despite some minor copyediting problems, I really enjoyed this book. While I knew the stones were a fictional device, I was content to suspend my disbelief. The adventure moved along so quickly that I read the book in about twelve hours--including taking time off to be a mom. It's Da Vinci Code meets Indiana Jones.Unlike the author, I do not have an advanced degree in Theology, but I was able to follow and buy the logic and history. Several of the exotic locales were described very vividly (I wasn't surprised to learn the author had actually been there). I did want Morgan to find truth. (Side argument: If you recall, in the Last Crusade, Dr. Jones tells his class, "Archaeology is the search for fact . . . not truth. If it's truth you're looking for, Dr. Tyree's philosophy class is right down the hall." And at the end of the movie, his father asks him, "What did you find, Junior?" Indy avoids the question, but my theory is that he found truth.) I wonder if that might be her journey over the course of the series--and that's something I'd like to see. I found it interesting that her Judaism seldom factored into the plot, or her viewpoint.The villain was a bit over-the-top maniacal (again, perhaps a pitfall of the genre).The copyediting problems: the characters addressed one another by name a lot. In some scenes, they called each other by name nearly every line. And as if that wasn't annoying enough, the names were almost never set off by commas. An American villain used a few Commonwealth phrases. There was a tiny tendency toward "As you know, Bob," dialogue (two characters discussing something they both know in detail), which is a common pitfall in this genre.A few Hollywood moments made me balk: tazers cannot paralyze you for ten minutes after contact; though you will definitely react, a bullet graze to a shoulder will not make you spin around; shooting something out of someone's hand is a one in a million shot.I'll probably pick up the sequel to this fun, fast, and pretty darn clean read.

  • Marc
    2018-10-31 17:51

    It's been awhile since I've read a thriller and I was looking for an enthralling one. Sadly, this was not the case here. I had one too many problems with Pentecost and it seemed like every time I got over one, another one popped up or returned.For example, in the beginning, there were some interesting ideas that I wanted to think or learn about. I never got a chance because the sentences were really long and kept going, along with these huge paragraphs of description, which felt like everything was being crammed in, and both of those together made for a tiring read. That eventually disappeared when characters started talking, but other problems arose.I didn't know how many sides there were. I thought there were four after the stones but then three and soon back to four. The villain was more laughable and stereotypical than anything else. There should have been more time focused on him or especially the sister and niece. I didn't care about them at all. It reminded me of all these shows and movies where they harm, kill, or kidnap the hero's family but you don't care because you've never spent any time with them.Speaking of the hero, I liked her...until the ending. She was strong, smart, and beautiful but at the end she was just too naive. It was predictable what happened. I didn't mind that but I expected her to be smarter about it and expected it to happen.However, my biggest problem is that the middle of the book just sagged. That's probably the worse thing a thriller can do. It dragged for a couple of reasons. There were far too many stones. It would have different if they each had their own power ala Jackie Chan Adventures. Or maybe if there was one special artifact like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Or if there was just less of them it would have been better.The ending kind of had me intrigued but I doubt I'll continue this series.

  • Toni Osborne
    2018-11-08 17:40

    Book 1, in the Arkane seriesAlso under the title “Pentecost”This fast-paced and highly imaginative story weaves a mix of Indiana Jones thrilling action into a tale that explores ancient myths and religion à la Dan Brown.“Stone of Fire” brings Morgan Sierra, a knowledgeable Oxford individual with an Israeli Special forces background to work with Jake Timber, a handsome Arkane operative, their quest is to find the twelve “Pentecost stones” taken from the tomb of Jesus Christ by the apostles. The stones are alleged to have great power and at least two other groups will go to any lengths to get hold of them also….and the chase takes us on a global trip from India to England, from Italy to Tunisia and from Iran to the US.Not at all what I expected not to say I didn’t like being push along while being informed at the same time. Ms. Penn is a master in religious information and her vivid descriptions of cathedrals, basilicas and the settings are what brought life to this thriller. This book is a highly fictionalized mishmash of unbelievable occurrences. Although the pacing is right and overall well told my mind still wandered through many parts. I simply got lost in the redundancy and the similarity with other books. The characterization is interesting but really clichéd. The dialogue lacked the sharpness expected in heated moments. Although this story does not make it in my best book of the year list it still offered some great entertainment. It is a kind of story preferable not to take too seriously……

  • Mark Tilbury
    2018-11-15 18:41

    Morgan Sierra finds herself with very little time to gather 12 pieces of stone before a comet passes over Earth on Pentecost and her sister and niece are hurt. Or worse!The stones, believed to have once been with the 12 Apostles on the first Pentecost, are wanted by many people and not all for good reasons. If Morgan can't gather them all and avoid the dangers of such a task then it won't be just her and her sister's family in trouble, everyone could be.This book is action packed from the beginning, with the action coming across as believable. The religious beliefs/myths that surround the events in the book are explained so that they can be read and understood without getting lost in traditions and religious history.J.F.Penn has got the balance right between giving enough information to explain things whilst managing to to keep the story moving along.It didn't matter that I am not overly religious, nor that i am a man and the main character is female. Some female characters like Morgan are surrounded by men wanting to rescue them or are portrayed like Lara Croft (Tomb Raider,) but thankfully Morgan has escaped these cliches and is a believable character whose adventure I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

  • Dava Stewart
    2018-10-23 21:53

    This is the perfect book for vacation. It entertains, yet doesn't demand too much. Reading it made me wish I was at the beach - not because it is set at the beach, but because it's exactly the kind of book I'd read while at the beach. Joanna Penn has been compared frequently to Dan Brown, and it's an apt comparison. Pentecost is action-packed, with the main characters circling the globe in about a week. There are bad guys, good guys, and secrets unrevealed. My main criticism is that one of the bad guys is a fairly unbelievable character. He is an extremely wealthy politician who is insane and kills people regularly. He grew up abused but somehow got very wealthy and obtained a position of power. It's not that I don't believe that politicians can be crazy, or that I don't believe they can kill people, it's just that all of those factors together create a character who is not likely to exist. But, like watching an action movie, a certain suspension of disbelief is required to enjoy this book - as I said, it's the sort of entertaining book that you don't think too much about. If you like action movies, Dan Brown, history sprinkled throughout your exciting adventures - grab a margarita and kick back beside the pool with Pentecost.

  • John Bowen
    2018-11-04 00:42

    I love few things more than a story featuring mystery, history, inventive mythology, great characters, and a jumbo, catering-sized quantity of action (which probably explains why I wrote one myself recently). JF Penn's Pentecost doesn't disappoint.Great fun.- John Bowen is the author of 'Vessel' and 'Where the Dead Walk'. You can find him here on GoodReads, and his published work at Amazon.

  • Wayne Marinovich
    2018-11-07 22:47

    A engaging read that is laced with action across several destinations, which are the types of books I love. Well researched and thought out, with good character development. Look forward to reading the second in the series

  • Meredith Dennis
    2018-11-03 01:49

    Very interesting book! Can't wait for the next one!

  • Melissa Hayden
    2018-10-28 21:29

    Penn has an amazing way of describing the city through the religious view and feel of the people. I find this attractive as it tells of the city and it's personality along with the people here, setting a whole stage easily. However at times my interest waned in some of the religious descriptions. I was really glad Penn didn't waste time on the uneventful trips but focuses on the search. The search of the cathedrals and citadels is where she blends in their history and the story, along with great action. Who the characters are is why they are here, so she accents their strengths to get the job done.This is the first book of the series and well worth a try if you are a fan of Indiana Jones type adventure/searches along with the feel of The Da Vinci Code. Wow, what a blend.****FULL REVIEW*****I purchased this book.The Keepers are being murdered and strange, marvelous miracles are happening at these moments. The stones they keep safe are coveted and taken by another. The Apostles Stone. Morgan Sierra, a psychologist at Oxford University, is now approached about the stone she wears around her neck, along with her sister's. There is a group out to retrieved them all, in time for the comet that last was around Earth at the time of Jesus' Resurrection and the power of Pentecost bestowed on the stones. Morgan is approached by another group, the ARKANE, to join them with finding the stones and keeping them safe, along with her and her sister's family. She has nine days to find the remainder of the twelve stones for her sister and niece's lives. ARKANE is involved and she'll need the help and resources of ARKANE to do so. ARKANE is willing to offer it.I'm hooked on listening to these books. Veronica shines in her talent of voices. There are male and female voices along with different accents. She easily differentiates personality and tones with each person. There is a moment where she even reads an article from a news paper and has the formal sound of the news. Veronica uses the emotion and rush of the moments in her voice to accent the rush of the moment. When things get moving, and hearts pumping, Veronica does speak with the speed of the moment. This is an older audio and there are moments the vocal sounds a teeny tiny bit of a twang to the voice.There are different POV's in the chapters broken by the heading of place and time. There is also a long pause between these sections so they do stand out in audio as they would in reading. That long pause is nice to transition me to knowing there is another section highlighting someone else coming, but at times I felt the long pause meant my device shut off.We meet Morgan Sierra for the first time. She works at Oxford University, but as much as she enjoys her job there feels to be something missing in the day to day work for Morgan. Until she is involved on a mission with the ARKANE to find all the Apostle's stones, and save her sister and niece. We get a glimpse at her life's experiences with the current dangerous events she's living through. And there are hints of things that's happened to her, that I'm hoping we get to see in future books.We also meet Jake Timber for the first time. He's not so sure about working with an outsider, but finds that Morgan is intelligent and more than capable to take care of herself in dangerous situations. He finds he's even a bit attracted to her. Jake sounds like a wonderful person. I love how he struggles with his job and mission he's to accomplish and his internal cares. It's a rough spot to be in. But he is a hoot at times! Sometimes it calls for extreme actions, and Jake does it. We do get a view of his family past as well. I really do like Jake, and even meeting him here he sticks out for me.Jake and Morgan end up making a great team.Penn has a great way of writing a thriller where we get the evil doers POV as well. I like that we get to see the human side of the man who wants these powerful stones, and why. But what he does to get them. *chills* He's in need of help. But! There is mention of another entity here that is skating the trails of Morgan and Jake. We learn just enough to make us curious of this other group, and that they are dangerous. But not much more on them or why they are after the stones, or any powerful religious artifact. This entity feels like an extra that will lead to more in the future.Penn has an amazing way of describing the city through the religious view and feel of the people. I find this attractive as it tells of the city and it's personality along with the people here, setting a whole stage easily. However at times my interest waned in some of the religious descriptions. I was really glad Penn didn't waste time on the uneventful trips but focuses on the search. The search of the cathedrals and citadels is where she blends in their history and the story, along with great action. Who the characters are is why they are here, so she accents their strengths to get the job done.This is the first book of the series and well worth a try if you are a fan of Indiana Jones type adventure/searches along with the feel of The Da Vinci Code. Wow, what a blend.

  • Andrew Montooth
    2018-10-29 20:30

    I stumbled across Joanna Penn while looking for writing podcasts to take on a long drive. Her podcasts were the most relevant and insightful I’ve found anywhere. And her straightforward references to her own novels (prudent not pushy) intrigued me. If the podcasts were that good, was her writing? So I picked up PENTECOST and PROPHECY, the first two volumes in her ARKANE series. I’ve reviewed the first here, and am working on a separate review for the second.Morgan Sierra, an Oxford psychologist and former Israeli Army conscript, finds herself the target of an attack by a shadowy group of religious fanatics known as Thanatos. Her sister and niece are kidnapped by another religious whacko and Morgan is left to save everyone. Luckily, a military hunk from a long forgotten branch of the English bureaucracy called ARKANE offers a helping hand. Sorta. We understand early on that ARKANE and Morgan have differing end games planned. Nonetheless, they work together to solve ancient riddles and take on the bad guys. Until he walks out on her. The scum.The plot follows a traditional thriller plot and does it well. The writing suffers from some early expository clumps that drag a bit (debut writeritis). But I urge readers to slog on because once you’re clear of the backstory the rest is as fascinating as it is educational.Joanna Penn achieves what Steve Berry dreams of, a thriller that takes the reader deep into remote locations, ancient myths, and local histories with a passionate, compelling voice. Where Steve Berry passages read like a travelogue, Ms. Penn reads like the informed adventure of an enthusiastic guide. No doubt this is due to her Masters in Theology and her love of psychology. She uses her knowledge to flesh out a thriller with real details lovingly told. And oddly it is not a religious book.When I heard her podcasts, I wondered if she were suppressing a spiritual theme to keep agnostics and atheists from fleeing for the exits. When I read the blurb and even into the first few chapters, I remained suspicious, expecting an imminent Bible or Koran thumping. I would not mind. I like religion. I have my favorite but believe all of them. I’m easy. However, many readers slam books closed at any discussion of faith. Ms. Penn walks the tightrope with amazing skill that can only come from honesty. Throughout the book, I noticed others had highlighted passages that explained beliefs with an open, non-judgmental philosophy. And that strikes a chord with readers. I think Ms. Penn speaks for a generation when she writes (her heroine’s voice):“I believe in something beyond our experience,” she said, “a realm above the physical that I can’t see or touch, but that I feel sometimes in certain places. I don’t believe in a savior who died for my sins, or a personal God who cares if I’m hurting. But I know there’s an energy beyond us, a power of good and evil, a light that gives life and a darkness that can destroy us. I don’t know. What do you think?”Indeed.Read the book. Highly recommended.

  • S.W.
    2018-11-01 20:30

    Set in some spectacular locationsI can’t quite remember how I heard about Stone of Fire, but I do know I picked it up from Amazon. As soon as I saw the cover it had me hooked. It looked exciting and I’m a sucker for a good cover.The book starts off well as we are witness to the tragedy of a poor old lady being robbed of a sacred stone. Her demise was a strong start that made me want to know why such a thing could happen.Soon after, our heroine, Morgan, is introduced to the story. She also has a stone and we find that there’s no shortage of others who want it at all costs. As a result, her family get caught up and the thriller plot line begins to reveal itself.At this point I became a tad confused, especially when a package arrived and was opened in the immediate aftermath of a turning point in the plot. I had lost the ability to know who was on her side. With so many motives and plot lines revealing at once, I think I was overwhelmed by the influx of multiple characters and groups. It took a while for me to refocus and understand the role of the other main character, Jake.Thankfully, everything was clarified at about 30% in. I was back on board and ready to continue. As the drama unfolded I found it to be quite heavy in places with religious history. A lot of it went straight over my head, but I retained enough to be able to understand the importance of some events and locations. The wonderful settings of this book definitely evoked great memories of my travels through Italy. The descriptions were vivid and I had no problems visualising the locations.One major plot twist (not telling what) that occurred was expected, and it helped Morgan realise that there was only one person she could truly trust and rely on. At the end, there was a fitting climax when each thread of the plot led to the final scenes. The climax itself left a few small loose ends and lingering doubts as to what she actually witnessed. Cue, the continuing series.In a nutshellAt times, I did find that the historical religious detail a bit overwhelming, but it was an entertaining read. It’s thoroughly researched and set in some spectacular locations. One thing stood out. Morgan’s family was her motivation, not the legendary power of the stones.Please check out my other reviews at www.swlothian.comNote: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure

  • T.A. Sullivan
    2018-10-31 20:50

    I usually try very hard to find something good to say about every book I review; however, I found little to recommend about J.F. Penn’s “Stone of Fire” book. It’s free; the concept is interesting…did I mention that it’s free?Despite all the hype that Ms. Penn issues regarding her novels, I was far from impressed with this book. The premise was interesting: stones from the Pentecost that might contain mystical powers. However, the writing was less than stellar…in fact, it was barely adequate.During the first third of the book, the plot and story were so thin that the framework she was building for the book was easily visible. It was like sitting in the audience of an amateur drama and watching the actors mill around while the stage hands pushed and pulled the various sets around. The characters were undefined and unclear as was the plot and the story. Someone told her she needed to have something dramatic happen in chapters 1, 3 and 5, so she focused on making that occur, whether those occurrences worked within the framework she was struggling to build or not.About mid-point, the author finally seemed to have figured out the plot and the story started to come together. Unfortunately, she still hadn’t defined her characters. In fact, they were so ill-defined that she couldn’t even keep the POV straight. A paragraph would start out with Morgan’s POV (the female protagonist) but end with Jake’s (the male protagonist). And if the author can’t tell one character from another, how are we, the readers, supposed to? The mixed POV’s continued throughout the rest of the book, leaving me distanced and struggling to care about these characters at all. The only character that the author seemed to know and understand, and that I enjoyed, was the clergyman, Ben. However, we only got his POV for about one chapter.In the last third of the book, Ms. Penn seemed to have finally figured out the basics of storytelling; however, she still couldn’t seem to determine whose POV she was using as we drifted from head to head, sometimes even mid-sentence. The ending was as weak as the overall book was poorly written. And the author added an addendum, which was her way of “fixing” the story so that it could become a series.Overall, I would give this story a half-star (if only for its original premise), but since that’s not allowed in Amazon or Goodreads, I will give it one star with the note that it is half a star too much.

  • Werner
    2018-10-17 20:57

    Pentecost is Joanna Penn's debut thriller novel and it's a good one. The hero, Morgan Sierra, is a biblical scholar and an Oxford trained clinical psychologist. Before becoming an academic she was a member of the Israeli Defense Forces, where she was trained in combat and uses the self-defense art of Krav Maga to kick some serious ass in this fast-paced religious thriller.Morgan and her sister are keepers of two of the 12 Pentecost stones once carried by the Apostles. The stones came from the rock that covered the tomb of Jesus and together the stones are believed to hold incredible mystical powers.Morgan's sister and niece are kidnapped by Joseph Everett, a wealthy and sadistic madman, who wants Morgan to find the rest of the stones and bring them to him - so he can use their power to resurrect his dying brother.This mission sends her on a globe-hopping, rollercoaster ride of adventures, tracing the footsteps of the Apostles, to find the stones of the Pentecost - before her sister and niece are sacrificed.She's aided by Jake Timber from the ARKANE group, a secret British government agency. They specialize in locating powerful paranormal and religious objects, and keeping them safe from other groups like Thanatos (the Greek personification of death), who seek to use the stones for their own evil ends.Joanna Penn's passion for the subject is evident by the in-depth research she conducted to craft this story. Given the rich descriptions of places in the story, it's obvious she's been to many of them.As you read the book you'll feel influences of Dan Brown thrillers and Indiana Jones adventures. The characters are richly drawn and stand out every bit as much as those in Clive Cussler novels. Pentecost will definitely appeal to all thriller fans.The story is immediately engaging and has you caring not only for the main character, but even finding sympathy for the antagonist. It hits the right plot points and has some good twists and is well-paced, increasing in intensity right to the explosive ending. This was a very solid first effort, and I can only imagine the novelist Joanna will evolve into as she continues to thrill her fans.I can hardly wait to see what adventures Morgan faces in Joanna's new thriller Prophecy.Pentecost is a real pager turner. Get it, read it and you too will become a fan.

  • Gina
    2018-11-10 21:40

    You never know what you are going to get when you get a freebie from the Kindle store, but Pentecost was a wonderful surprise. Yes, I thought it would be a cheap, low rate, Dan Brown type of book. However, I have to admit that I loved it. It was just as good as any Dan Brown book and I plan on reading more of the series. The plotline is original and full of adventure. I was on the edge of my seat and read the book in about 2 days. Morgan Sierra is a psychologist who specializes in religious psychology at Oxford University. She was given a stone to wear around her neck from her father and her twin sister, Faye, has her own stone given to her by their mother. Faye is kidnapped and then all hell breaks loose in Morgan's life. She gets involved with Jake Timber who works for ARKANE, a secret agency that researches and protects secrets and myths of religion and the occult. THe stones Faye and Morgan have are 2 of the 12 stones of the Pentecost. It is said that the Apostles each took a stone from the tomb from which Christ rose and that those stones were given special powers on the day of Pentecost. The 12 stones have been kept apart since the original 12 Apostles left after receiving the Holy Spirit. The stones only have their true power if they are together. Morgan and Jake travel the world to find the remaining stones to give to the maniacal Joseph Everett, who has kidnapped Faye and wants the stones to heal his brother. The story goes from there with Jake and Morgan gathering the stones while another religious group chases them. I don't want to give any more away but I have to say if you liked the DaVinci Code and books like it you will love Pentecost! I cannot wait to read the second book in the series. Go read this book! 4 stars!

  • Andy Beau
    2018-10-29 20:41

    I highly recommend Joanna Penn's first book, Pentecost, the start of an exciting new action-adventure lost-artifacts series. This novel chronicles the adventures of Morgan Sierra, an ex-Israeli secret ops turned Oxford religion professor, and Jake Timber, an agent of ARKANE. ARKANE is a super-secret British government agency involved with the many mysterious lost, and sometimes highly dangerous, ancient artifacts of the world. Morgan and Jake must travel around Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and America tracking down and accumulating 12 supernatural stones that belonged to the Apostles, and now needed by Morgan. The stones had gained powerful supernatural abilities because they were from the tomb of Christ and were involved with the tongues of fire that instilled certain powers to the Apostles after Christ's resurrection. However, like any powerful tool, they could also be used for evil, which is why a deadly group is killing the stones' Keepers and murderously pursuing the heroes on their search. The story ends in a fantastic supernatural, fiery, thundering climax. One of the most important reasons that I enjoyed this book is that the artifacts, in this case, the stones, actually possessed supernatural powers and were not simply the result of some ancient super-science or modern weird science. Many books in this genre have great world-wide hunts for powerful, supposedly-supernatural artifacts, accompanied by dangerous chases and fights. But at the end, they reveal that the artifacts are not supernatural at all but are more of a sci-fi creation from the past or the present, or a grand hoax. What a disappointment! Hopefully, the next book in the series, Prophecy, will keep it supernatural.

  • Neil
    2018-11-11 00:34

    You never really know what you are going to get when you opt for a free book, such was the case with this one. At that time the book was titled as "Pentecost", and had burrowed away into my Kindle where it had sat hidden until the other day. Having just finished a series of books I felt it was time to read something slightly different. Imagine the Indiana Jones films added to the Da Vinci Code, but with a female main character. This is similar in feel to the Lara Croft films but without the wall to wall action. This is a book that entertains as well as educates. The main character is an Oxford academic, and one time member of the Israeli Defence Force, Dr Morgan Sierra. When her Sister and Niece are kidnapped, she is given the task of retrieving the 12 Apostle Stones. Failure to obtain them will not go well for her family.She is assisted in her task by a shadowy organisation called ARKANE, but there is also a third party seeking these stones, Thanatos. So the race is on, as the global search gets under way.It was easy to see that many of the locations are taken from the writer's own travels and experiences. As were the references to early Christianity, and although the writer has degrees in psychology and theology, neither was overdone in this book.The downside was some of the writing. Overly long sentences, which could have benefited from the use of commas. A mixture of English and American idioms, and sometimes a confusion of who actually said what to who when there are more than two characters. The action sequences were rather short and sweet, but in general the pacing of the plot line was good.The idea behind the book was original, and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

  • Aurelia Casey
    2018-11-09 01:31

    This is a great book for learning about places that are historically significant to early Christianity. However, it is clear that this is a debut novel, and that J.F. Penn was more accustomed to non-fiction and academic writing before writing this work. The pacing didn't feel like a thriller, to me. It felt more like historical fiction. The descriptions are long, and there were a number of scenes where characters needed to find something (either physical or informational) but stopped to ponder the way the light fell through the windows. This brought me out of the action.There is building action, but the tension doesn't build with it. Yes, Morgan has a military background, but she left for a reason. I didn't get a good sense of her fears or emotions about returning to violence after having chosen to work as a professor to escape it. It felt like a string of loosely unconnected things that just happened, and that Morgan was back to her normal chipper self right away. I expected that Morgan had already faced her own death while in the Israeli military, it was difficult to believe that she had to confront that fear again.There were a few brief mentions of Morgan’s nightmares, but it would have been more powerful to glimpse the nightmares, or see her waking from them sweaty and shaking. It would have made Morgan easier to relate to. It also would have helped build tension.I really liked the influence of Jung and the Red Book. It was fascinating to learn more about that, in the context of a novel. I especially enjoyed the animal symbolism, and how different symbols meant different things to Jung than the do in common culture.My favorite part was the very end. Everything that happens after the climactic moment.It’s worth reading, unless style really bothers you.

  • Nicko
    2018-10-22 18:39

    Enjoyable enough book written by an author who has clearly done a lot of research and knows her subject matter. I also did enjoy the fact that the hints of Christianity and faith were not preaching to the reader but were there more as evidence of the world Morgan (the main heroine) lives in.Yet, unfortunately the book also suffers from a few problems:- Morgan is really unlikable. She is described as someone with smarts and muscle but at times her logic seems to be anything but. Simple decisions that would benefit her and her family, like calling in the cops as a last resort, are completely ditched for weird hail Mary's, like driving out to the desert completely alone. For someone we are supposed to be getting to know (this is book 1) we are left scratching our heads that perhaps the real hero has yet to emerge at times.- The villains are too many and are all dumb or crazy. They appear out of nowhere, have weird plans and they actually never really follow through with anything.- The ending is a complete deus ex machina. It really did not matter how the characters got there in the end. It all went down some way, possibly because the author was in wrapping up mode and rushed through it.- My Kindle edition (and subsequent books in the series) has Lara Croft in the cover. If you want people to enter the book with a neutral stance perhaps you should not plagarize a popular fictional female character. That really left a bad taste in my mouth.Not sure I will be following Morgan's other adventures. I would however read more from the author, perhaps of another setting and with more creative control.

  • Roopkumar Balachandran
    2018-11-14 18:49

    A nice thriller from J.F.Penn, I received this eBook as free from Amazon. The story is about to gather the Pentecost stones also known as the stones of 12 apostles. And all these stones are scattered over the sacred places of earth. Once every thousand years a comet named as Resurgam will appear, during that period when these 12 stones are gathered will give unknown powers to the possessor. Present time the comet is going to appear, thousand year legends becomes fact. Dr.Morgan Sierra and her twin sister are possessing two of the 12 stones, Morgans sister and her daughter is kidnapped, to save her, Morgan enters the search with ARKANE a secret government organisation, a team member Jake Timber is given the task to work along with Morgan to find the Pentecost stones before it falls into the evil organisation Thanatos. Not only them another rich and maniac Joseph Everett who wants to save his twin brother Michael (hospitalized in St Bartholomew's private psychiatric Hospital) badly needs the stones. How Dr.Morgan and Jake gets back all the stones will be revealed in a thrilling globe trotting novel "Stone of Fire". The climax is superb a fitting finish to the novel. And also a sequel might follow for Dr.Morgan. The author has given a detailed information about the facts and fictions of her story. The locations in the book starting from India, England, Spain, Iran, Italy, Israel, Tunisia and USA. The Biosphere in the novel is a real place which the author has used her skillful imagination for the climax.

  • Eliza Banerjee
    2018-10-21 22:32

    I downloaded Stone of Fire after avidly reading the Creative Pennfor a few months. I am a big fan of Penn's non-fiction titles, so I was quite eager to read her first novel.I am not rating because of the writing or the plot.I began reading knowing that this was her first novel, and I figured the writing may not be as strong as it is now.What ruined the experience for me was the background for her main character. As someone who has been studying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for almost ten years, has read from both sources, has spoken with Israelis, Palestinians and third party sources, this book has only left a bitter taste in my mouth.While the character is semi-believable, albeit the repetitious mentioning of Israel in the first two chapters alone was enough to set me off. The "melting pot of religions" comment is less applicable now than in pre-1900 and pre-1947, before it became an exclusively Jewish state.The overemphasis on the "exotic" nature of the protagonist and the lack of nuance about such a background forced me to put the book down prematurely. I was disappointed, as I am fascinated by theology, especially the original Judaic Kabbalah, and I really wanted to support an author whose other works I enjoy.Unfortunately, the lack of research and poise in dealing with such a character really turned me off. It appears that I will have to stick to her non-fiction for now on.

  • Diane
    2018-11-07 23:34

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a fast read and had to know what next was happening The book takes you on one action thrill ride.There are many twist to keep you looking for what next is to happen.Joanna Penn is a great writer. She knows how to keep you glued to the story. You find yourself traveling with Margan Sierra all over the world to find what is called the Apostle stones. They are known to bring great power to the one that owns them.Margan Sierra once served in the Israel IDF and knows how to protect herself. She now is a biblical scholar at Oxford which she loves.Her twin sister she is just starting to get to know again since they where separated by their parents and one grew up in Isreal and the other in the States. Her sister and niece has been kidnap and are being used to get Margan to help find the Apostle stones. Margan has been told if she does not help find the stones her sister and niece will be killed.Will Margan find the stones in time to save her sister and niece and to stop the evil people from using them for their purpose.I'm looking forward to the next book and reading more of Morgan Sierra.I would recommend this book.