The Antioch Testament

Christian - Historical Fiction
374 Pages
Reviewed on 11/12/2015
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Chris Fischer for Readers' Favorite

In a very interesting take on Christian history, debut author Donald Joiner takes his readers on quite a journey in The Antioch Testament. When an American Army patrol takes control of a precious bundle that Christian Iraqi refugees were protecting with their very lives, a bundle that contains a manuscript that none of the members of the patrol can read, they are not even sure what it is. But the American chaplain is certain of its importance and the manuscript is shipped back to the United States, both for its safety, and for translation. When it is finally translated, all are shocked to find out that they have found a testimonial from the first century A.D., written in Aramaic, that details what happened to the apostles after Jesus' Resurrection. When a vicious group of Iraqi terrorists realizes where the manuscript is, they vow to gain control of it, and they are willing to go to any lengths to get it.

I so enjoyed The Antioch Testament. Author Donald Joiner has done a fantastic job in writing an exciting, heart in your throat type of story with a strong Christian bent. Readers will remain absolutely engrossed in the story from start to finish, and will find this book difficult to put down. I appreciated the author's meticulous attention to detail, and there were certainly times when I felt I was actively in the scenes with the characters. Any reader who enjoys an exciting thrill ride of a read, Christian fiction, or just a great book in general, should absolutely read The Antioch Testament. I am pleased to recommend this book, and look forward to reading more from author Donald Joiner in the future!

Rabia Tanveer

The Antioch Testament by Donald Joiner is the story of an old manuscript that holds secrets that can even destroy a whole nation. When a group of frightened Christian refugees from Iraq is rescued by the American forces, they reveal the injured leader of the group is holding something that he will only give to the army chaplain. The old man guarded the bundle with his life and when it is passed on to the chaplain, he discovers that the bundle holds an ancient manuscript which is more powerful than anything he has ever seen before.

When the manuscript is successfully sent to America, the linguists begin to decipher the meaning of the manuscript. It turns out to be a testimonial in the Aramaic language from the 1st century AD. It holds some sensitive information, information that can change a lot of things including the belief system. Islamic militants will do anything to procure the manuscript and destroy it before it is revealed to the world.

The Antioch Testament by Donald Joiner is written well. There is not a single error to find. The characterization is great, and it gives off a Dan Brownish vibe. You have to give credit where it is due. The dialogue was crisp and suited according to each character’s personality (which is always a plus in my opinion). The imagery was vivid. I enjoyed this book.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Donald Joiner’s The Antioch Testament proves the power of the written word. Many desire to silence the sacred testament’s influence forever, while others adore and protect it, exposing its truth from generation to generation. In 2014, Major Charles Monroe is a chaplain stationed at FOB Winslow in Iraq. In a firefight a priest is wounded and rescued from a nearby monastery. The priest has in his possession an old religious manuscript. The dying priest insists that Chaplain Monroe take possession of the “ancient Christian treasure.” Even though Monroe questions the validity of the book, he understands the book is a rare find, and decides to send it to America for its safety. After sending the book home, Monroe is critically injured. With months of rehabilitation in front of him, will the discovery of this archaic book become Monroe’s death sentence or his fighting chance to live?

The Antioch Testament by Donald Joiner opens a hidden doorway into early church history. Those intrigued by church history will be absorbed by the fictional liberties taken to enhance the characters and livelihood of the early leaders of Christianity. This account certainly quenches the thirst of the parched and longing church historian. Almost characterizing the manuscript, the narrative focuses on the contents of the document and less on the evil opposition, proving the statement embedded within the story, “historians are inclined to get carried away.” However, the antagonists’ plans to take and destroy the manuscript are the sparks of life that keep plot action moving. Joiner pens a few inspirational images within the abundance of ancient biblical data, my favorite being his descriptions of lies, “They are nothing but mists of the night, soon to be dissipated by the light of the sun.” The Antioch Testament repeatedly echoes these thematic words, “Death could not hold him.” The novel testifies of the faith of the early church apostles to share the way, the truth and the life of the risen Messiah.

Melinda Hills

Major Charles Monroe is a Methodist Chaplain in a military unit in Iraq when he unwittingly becomes embroiled in an unbelievable find that has the potential of reshaping what the world knows about the Apostles of Jesus Christ in The Antioch Testament by Donald Joiner. When a team from his unit rescues a group of Christians fleeing from Muslim insurgents and brings in an old priest, the transfer of an ancient book takes place which begins a modern day odyssey of discovery. Understanding that the Muslims would undoubtedly damage or destroy the text, Monroe agrees to ship it home. Unfortunately, he is severely wounded and the task of uncovering the mysteries of the book falls to his unbelieving brother, Ken, who takes the package to a West Virginia monastery run by Syrian Christians. They quickly discover the importance of the text and over the course of many months present their translations and analyses to Ken and Charles as he heals from his wounds. In the meantime, the leader of a Muslim group who somehow knows of the text sends an agent to the US to retrieve or destroy the book so that its impact on Christianity cannot weaken the threat of Islam extremism. Several attempts to get to the manuscript are thwarted but will the infidels win out before this addition to the “Good News” can be shared with the world?

Vivid writing and tremendous action support the emotion of The Antioch Testament by Donald Joiner. The stories of the Apostles and other Christian faithful come to life in the descriptions of their service to the Lord in the spreading of the “Good News.” With plenty of historical facts culled from countless sources, Joiner provides a realistic look at what these brave men and women accomplished in the early years of the Christian faith against horrible odds and in the face of extreme persecution. This is a well written narrative that reinforces your belief in the power of Christ’s message.

Tracy Slowiak

In The Antioch Testament by debut author Donald Joiner, a unique, highly interesting, fast paced and at many times thrilling story is presented to readers. Following the story of an ancient book, one guarded for centuries by a Christian sect in Iraq, the plot wends and weaves along quite a path. American soldiers receive the book from a group of frightened Christian refugees and, while they are not able to determine exactly what it is, the soldiers' chaplain realizes its potential importance and ships it to the US. It's there where the book's true import is realized. An account of the lives of the apostles after Jesus is resurrected into Heaven, the book is a priceless treasure to all of humanity. But when a group of Iraqi terrorists realize what the book is, and who has it, they vow to get it back, if only to destroy it.

The Antioch Testament is a great book. I started it in the evening, planning to read only a few chapters before bed. Instead, I was up until well into the morning, obsessively turning the pages until I got to the very end. Author Donald Joiner has done a simply wonderful job in writing a novel that is exciting but also meaningful, especially to his readers who are Christian. It's hard for me to believe that this is the author's first book as it was written so well with a story line like few other I have read before. I will certainly be looking for more from this very promising author, and I hope that he is already working on his next novel right now!