The Topkapi Secret
Prometheus, Sep 1 2010, $25.00
Berkeley University English Literature Professor Angela Hall is in Ramallah on the West Bank doing research when she meets Mohammed Atareek. He provides her a fascinating theory on the Koran; in which he believes that the modern day version is vastly different from what was written down centuries ago. He has tried to obtain permission to visit the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul to access the Topkapi Codex, but has been denied approval.
Angela is intrigued by Mohammed’s premise. Although he warns her of the danger as his colleagues are being hunted and killed, they agree to work together to obtain access to the Topkapi Codex. The American and the Palestinian head to Beirut as they make the dangerous trek across the Middle East towards Turkey not knowing who to trust including each other.
The underling premise of this exhilarating thriller is the debate over whether the modern Koran text is the original words that God spoke to Mohammed as the real allegedly seventh century Topkapi Codex had limited scholarly analysis. The story line is incredible when the focus is on the Koran; when the plot turns to a typical thriller adventure, it loses some of its potency. Still readers will enjoy the Topkapi Secret wondering whether the Koran is the unchanged revelation from Allah or a false fable that like the other major religions use to keep the faithful adhering to the Word.