The Lost Stones by Paul Rimmasch
1600s Mexico- The Aztec Prince Ixtililxochitl writes that the first people to inhabit his land came from the Tower of Babel at the dividing of tongues…Scholars dismiss his writings as myth.
1800s Mid Western United States- Settlers dig into ancient burial mounds and discover thousands of slate tablets covered with a strange hieroglyphic writing and drawings depicting Jesus Christ…these artifacts are denounced as a hoax.
1909 Arizona-a newspaper runs a story describing how a cave containing metal artifacts and Egyptian-type hieroglyphics was discovered in the Grand Canyon by a group of Scientists from the Smithsonian Institute…the Smithsonian categorically denies the account.
These and other amazing facts make up the world of forbidden Book of Mormon Archaeology. It is a world BYU student and Iraqi War veteran Ammon Rogers never knew existed. He is thrust headlong into this world when he asks the enigmatic adventurer John Byrd a simple question. When John is kidnapped in Mexico, Ammon joins forces with John’s beautiful daughter in a desperate attempt to not only save John, but to find his answer…an answer that will change the world…an answer one sinister foe will do anything to suppress.
The blurb from the back of the book is more succinct than the blurb above, but I liked this one because it talks more specifically about what really interests me in The Lost Stones. But I'll get to that.
I found The Lost Stones to be a face-paced, enjoyable read. It contains sufficient amounts of humor, romance, action, suspense, mystery, and intrigue. Rimmasch effectively weaves his research of Ancient America into a fantastic fictional story.
One of my favorite stylistic details Rimmasch uses is dropping the reader off in the middle of the action. One minute you're flying through the air amid bits of trailer house debris with the main character Ammon, and the next you're on a plane following the next clue, seeking out the next part of his adventure. Rimmasch doesn't waste words dealing with the aftermath or the fallout of the adventure. It makes the story move along quickly, and it leaves room for him to spend more time developing the romance or speculating about the historical significance of the data--neither of which he does. This is something I appreciated because one, it's not a romance novel, and two, speculation is all it would be.
Rimmasch's character, the Book of Mormon achaeologist John Byrd, points out early in the novel that any so-called evidence they find can only provide plausibility for a certain theory. Rimmasch makes no claims he can't back up with plausible evidence. Also, one of the main themes of the book is that it doesn't matter where the events of the Book of Mormon took place--only that they did. [Sidenote: I took this stance with my book too, including elements from all over the world in my Book of Mormon setting, because I feel that if we knew for sure where the Book of Mormon took place (say...the Church made an official statement), we wouldn't need to have faith in it. That's why this strikes a chord with me]. Rimmasch points out that if we had the knowledge that these events actually happened, we would all be held accountable to that knowledge. I really loved that both this theme and this philosophy were very prevalant in his novel. Rimmasch's stylistic choice to leave some elements out reinforces his theme that there is some information we need and other information we just have to accept as having happened or being true.
I also loved the main character, Ammon. Part of me expected him to be completely strong and knowledgeable, but along with his strengths, he has his endearing and relatable insecurities. He is a tough Iraqi war veteran, and yet the Ammon we see is the one who struggles with his testimony and gets nervous around pretty, intelligent girls. It's an incongruity that could be really irritating, but it's not. I think so many of us are like that. We have our public persona, whatever it may be, and yet on the inside we are all struggling with something, be it faith, strength, anger, courage, fear, depression, acceptance, hurt, loneliness, etc. And so, for me, with Ammon, it just really works.
This is great book by a first-time author who can only type with three fingers. It was a read I considered worth my time. It piqued my interest, and I am still mulling it over even after putting the book down.
I did recieve a copy of The Lost Stones from the publisher in exchange for my honest review (booyah!...ahem...I mean, lucky huh?). For more information about Paul Rimmasch and how to order your own copy, see the links below.
http://the-suit.com/theloststones/ I particularly recommend checking out the Map of Artifacts