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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
The Lazarus Continuum by Ken Fry is the sequel to his earlier blockbuster, The Lazarus Succession. In this story, the heroes from the first book, Brodie and Ulla, are still present, but the mantle is picked up by their daughter, Martha. The painting of Lazarus that is reputed to have mystical healing powers has resided for many years now in a monastery in Spain, guarded by Abbot Louis and Brodie himself as Brother Baez. The legend of the powers of the painting has resurfaced though and this time two unscrupulous rogues are determined to get their hands on it. Silas Shepherd, a typical American Super-Church pastor, has dreams of immense power and untold wealth when he has this miraculous religious icon in his hands and he controls the greatest church in the world that he will found, The Church of the Lazacrucians. The other, a ruthless casino owner, billionaire John D Bower, dreams of the immense wealth the painting can bring him. They will join forces to hunt down the Lazarus painting and it will be all hands on deck for those that must protect it from the usurpers.
The Lazarus Continuum, a modern day thriller, has its roots firmly in a past religious conspiracy twist. The important thing for me, as a reader, is that a sequel must build on the original, develop the story and move on into different areas of exploration. The Lazarus Continuum does exactly that whilst still keeping many of the characters that we met and fell in love with in The Lazarus Succession. You don't have to have read the first book to enjoy this as it is a standalone story and the author does an exceptional job at dropping little gems into the story to explain the backstory. That said, I would still recommend reading The Lazarus Succession first, if for no other reason than it is a superb story. When it comes to religious icons and fantastical religious conspiracy theories, I have found none better in the genre than Fry. What makes this author stand out more than most is his innate ability to make the reader believe the unbelievable and the mystical. By the end of the book, nothing surprises you as a reader, and you just accept the fantastic as being merely normal and expected. This is the mark of a superb author and Fry is one of those. As always in his novels, the action is fast paced and exciting. I read the book essentially in one sitting and, clichéd as this may sound, I found it impossible to put it down.