When a Roman Catholic scholar involved in the Dead Sea Scrolls Project discovers a heretical message contained in one of the Scrolls he hides it. Decades later, a prominent archeologist discovers reference to the scroll in an archeological dig. This discovery spurs the world religions into a dangerous game of cat and mouse, in which all who seek the hidden scroll are mysteriously silenced, leaving the salvation of humankind to a father and son, who must either find the hidden scroll … or die trying.

Reader's Review: Thought-provoking

Jacquelyn Kunda

This book will draw inevitable comparisons to "The DaVinci Code". That being said, I found it just as enjoyable a read! I always approach books that have religious themes with a grain of salt... we all have our beliefs and most of us view them as facts. As one previous reviewer said, enjoy this for what it is - entertainment. And entertaining it was!! Fast-paced and thrilling... another winner by Dr. Brown!

More Fun Facts About The Dead Sea Scrolls!

So far we've touched upon everything from the rhythm method to bat poop. We even managed to discuss the Dead Sea Scrolls. Now, we continue our bipolar trip through the salty waters of Holy History.


The Dead Sea Scrolls can be divided into three categories – biblical scrolls, non-biblical scrolls and sectarian scrolls. The biblical scrolls are 1000 years older than any other Old Testament texts, and represent all of the books of the OT except Esther. Now, keep in mind, when we say “biblical” in reference to the Dead Sea Scrolls, we’re talking about the Jewish Bible, meaning the Old Testament. None of the scrolls, other than the aforementioned questionable fragments discovered in Cave 7, represent New Testament books. Having said that, 207 out of the 930 scrolls found at Qumran are biblical scrolls. The non-biblical scrolls contain new psalms, the retelling of biblical stories, mystic tales and biblical interpretation. Sectarian scrolls, such as the Rule of the Community, were written by and about the keepers of the scrolls, the aforementioned “Sons of Light” whom most scholars presume to be the Essenes.

Reader's Review: WOW What A Thrill!!!!


This book was intense!!!! So exciting and what an adventure. I love how raw and in your face the story was. It was like watching a good miniseries like STARZ does. Definitely a must read, I couldn't put it down. It made my heart race and break and I wanted to scream at times. Well, worth the read. I loved it and absolutely recommend it to anyone, christian or not, if they want an intense thrilling read.

See What Everyone is Talking About! Read An Excerpt From My New Novel The Returned

Nathan stayed watchful for the next three days. He noticed nothing untoward, other than Hawley becoming uncomfortably chummy with him and his brother. But every time the bigot tried to ingratiate himself to them, Nathan felt his insincerity meter implode.
On the evening of the third day, Nathan sat by himself on a split log watching the campfire burn down to cinders. An occasional flame jumped and flared, only to dwindle and die into its glowing grave. Nathan raised his gaze to where the tethered mules stood huddled together at the edge of the fire’s weakening ring of light. Each mule balanced on three legs, the forth leg cocked at the knee, the tip of the hoof resting nonchalantly on the ground. Periodically one animal would shift his weight, bumping his neighbors and setting off a wave of rebalancing.
With a deep sigh, Nathan scraped the last mouthful of stew from his aluminum dish and spooned it into his mouth. Still chewing, he got to his feet and walked over to the animals, tied and hobbled beside Wogan’s tent, which glowed in the darkness from a camp light within.
“You don’t hate the others for being colored, do you, big guy?” he whispered to the only pale roan in the bunch. “Didn’t think so. Animals don’t kill each another over color.”
Nathan toyed with the animal’s thin forelock for a moment. He ran his hand over the arched neck, down its coarse-haired mane, and patted his rump. Then he sauntered over to the improvised serving table, a short board balanced between two cut logs.
Nathan had opted for an early rest and a late dinner due to having pulled watch duty for the first half of the night. By the time he had risen, the sun had set and the others were already heading for their tents in anticipation of an early morning.
Nathan sloshed water from a pan into his dish. He swished it around with the stained dishrag they boiled daily, and then flung it to the side. The ribbon of water hit the ground with a running splat. Nathan stacked his dish upside down on the pile in the center of the board to dry.
A twig snapped behind him and he spun around, ready for anything.
Tonto squatted on the other side of the fire, his brown face dancing with shadows from the dying flames. His friend held up two ends of a twig he had deliberately broken, and then tossed them into the fire. “How,” he said, raising the open palm of his right hand. “Can’t say ‘paleface,’ though.”
Nathan steadied himself and returned the salute. A sign of peace, to show the warrior’s strongest hand empty of weapons. “How, Chief.”
Tonto rose and hefted the M2 carbine Nathan had been assigned for guard duty—but which he had negligently left propped against his split-log seat. With an inscrutable wink, the native handed him the weapon, gathered an armful of firewood from the pile at their feet, and set it down beside the nest of glowing embers.
Habit, Nathan thought. Slinging the semi-automatic rifle over his shoulder, he walked over and sat beside his friend. The resinous wood sizzled and popped as Tonto laid it on the coals, and almost immediately burst into flames.
The light in Wogan’s dome tent blinked out, leaving all five of the two-man tents in the dark. The Americans paired up, but Charles Hawley slept alone. The natives, as always, occupied a lean-to.
“Quiet out there,” Nathan said.
“Too quiet,” Tonto said. “Insects start talking in an hour. Should be.”
The brief silence was broken by a tropical bird, crooning a haunting goodnight song far overhead. A nearby bush shook with the rustle of a rodent drawn by the smell of food, and a chorus of snores drifted out from the tents to blend with the sizzles and pops from the fire.
“You’re worried,” Tonto said.
“You’re not?”
The native nodded slowly. “Not the same worry.”
“What, then?”
Tonto jerked his chin past the tents to the black shadow where the guides slept under the lean-to, indistinguishable in the dark. “Three days, no fights for more money. Not normal.”
Not normal. Huh. Nathan realized he had been so wrapped up in his own concerns he hadn’t noticed. But Tonto was right. Had they given up on trying to squeeze Wogan for higher wages, or was there another reason? Suddenly he felt wide awake.
“Do you know something?”
“No, Jane. Not normal is all.”
“Can you talk with them? See what they’re thinking?”
The native tossed another log onto the fire, now fully ablaze, sending a shower of sparks dancing up the swirl of vapors. “You’re worried about Hawley.”
“And Duke.”
“I’ll sit with you—sleep outside your tent later.” Tonto fixed his gaze on the fire.
Talk about not normal. Nobody would ever do that for me back home. With a start, Nathan realized he was unlikely to ever find a more loyal friend than Tonto—here or anywhere—perhaps for the rest of his life.
After turning over the guard at midnight, he went to sleep beside his brother with the same peaceful thought, having watched Tonto bed down outside the tent flaps.
He awoke to shouts, followed by a gun blast that shook the very core of his being.
The camp exploded with cries. Grabbing his survival rifle, he rolled over, only to find the sheet Mark slept in empty. In one fluid movement he pushed to his knees and launched himself through the tent flaps. He expected the ties to tear, but the flaps flew open without resistance and he caught a half-naked body with one shoulder. Instinctively wrapping his arms around the man, together they tumbled to the ground. A melee of shouts at the camp’s center were punctuated by another explosion of gunshots. Nathan felt a rush of adrenaline, and struggled in the darkness to get the better of his opponent. Pitching to one side, he quickly reversed, caught the native off balance, rolled on top and pinned both the man’s arms to the ground beneath his knees. Raising his rifle butt in both hands to bash in the man’s skull, only then did Tonto’s cries of “Kemosabe! Kemosabe! It’s me, Kemosabe!” penetrate the haze of his panic-fogged mind. For a moment he froze, and then he leapt off as if electrified.
Tonto nimbly jumped to his feet and grabbed him by the arm in the dark. Together they turned and ran toward the din of voices in the center of the camp. They found the expedition members milling around in confusion, the scene dimly illuminated by the campfire.
Nathan grabbed one of the grad students as he raced by, carrying an unlit lamp. “What happened?”
“Murder,” he said. Pulling away, he stepped back. “Got a match?”
“Here. I’ve got a lighter.” With a shiver of fear, Nathan realized the calm, controlled voice of the man who stepped forward was Hawley’s. A metallic snap in the dark was followed by the rasp of a lighter’s striker on flint, and a long daisy-petal of flame leapt from his silver lighter. The pale hand that held the lighter was smeared with blood.
Nathan felt his world close in upon him. “Where’s my brother?” he asked, unable to keep the chill from his voice.
“Don’t know.”
“Wait until we get this lamp lit,” the grad student said.
The mantles of the Coleman lantern sputtered to life, just as Scott Campbell stepped from a tent holding another lantern high. Together they bleached the scene white, and for a moment nobody moved. Spread-eagled on the ground was a body, arms wide as if to embrace the earth. He was dressed in the same safari khakis they all wore, even to bed. One hand was stuffed under the split log seat Nathan had sat upon earlier that night, the other lay draped into the fire where it sizzled and sputtered with an unholy stench, engulfed by flames.
A huge puddle of blood spread out from where the body’s head should have been.
“Mark,” he said, his heart and hopes sinking.
“Yeah? What happened?”
He snapped his head around as his brother stepped into the circle of light, only three feet away.

Really Random Site Book Review of The Returned

Amazon Jungle Action Thriller

The Returned is the story of an expedition to the Amazon jungle that did not quite go as planned. The group is lead by a professor and paid for by a chemical company with the intent of getting soil samples to determine if there are any valuable chemicals in the jungle.
Members of the expedition include brothers Mark and Nathan who went to have a summer adventure. The experience they have is life-changing and far surpasses anything that they could have dreamed of.

As the expedition members interact with the jungle and natives that live there, lives are lost and others are changed. The surviving members are forced to look at themselves, their morals, and their attitudes.

Except for the fact that the story is being told by a surviving member of the party, The Returned is not predictable. We know from the beginning of the book that at least one person survived. The story moves fast with some tense and action filled moments.
Dr. Brown is also the author of The Eighth Scroll which I reviewed in August of 2010. That review can be found at http://www.reallyrandomsite.com/thebookreview/the-eighth-scroll-by-laurence-b-brown/

Like his first book, this book contains no bad language or adult situations. It does have some violent death scenes but they are a natural part of the story.
I highly recommend both of his books to those who enjoy action thrillers.

An Adventure into the jungle that you will never forget. Reader's Review of The Returned

Donald Armfield (Mass.)

If only they listened to Axel Rose "You're in the jungle baby, you're gonna die"

Twin brothers Mark & Nathan go on what they thought would be the best summer vacation ever. An expedition to South America with Geochemistry Professor turns out to be a catastrophic event that only untamed wilderness can dish out. Now the tour guide a native Indian they call "Tonto" is there only way out if they make it alive.

Forty years later Nathan is telling his son about his epic journey in the jungle. After he returns to South America to find out the tribe that once called him a GOD (for slaying a jaguar with his bare hands) is in turmoil and upside down is it because of him or just a man of evil.

This novel has its ups and downs, love & some awesome fight sequences. Definitely worth the read.

Fun Facts About The Dead Sea Scrolls


And now . . . a taste of their times. Beside the orthodox Sadducees and progressive Pharisees, the Essenes represented the third main school of Jewish thought at the period of Christian origins. They were devoted to ritual purity, monastic lifestyle, exhaustive worship, Mosaic law, meat and metal. We’re not talking about pacifist vegetarian monks here – the Essenes spent generations gearing up for an apocalyptic war in which the “Sons of Light” would obliterate their enemies at the points of their lances and the edges of their swords. The Jewish revolution against Roman rule raged from 66-73 CE. When Jerusalem fell in 70 CE, the Romans destroyed the second temple (Babylonians destroyed the first temple in 586 BCE, the Jews rebuilt it seventy years later). The Romans spent the next three years mopping up insurgence in the Holy Land, culminating in their horrific victory against Masada in 73 CE. Given the war, the Essenes had good reason to hide their greatest treasure – their sacred scrolls. Evidence suggests they hid the Dead Sea Scrolls in the caves around Qumran in or before 68 AD (for Christians), 68 CE (for non-Christians), three score and eight (for Abe Lincoln), and the high side of six dimes for the rest of us. Then they were destroyed. For nearly two millennia the Dead Sea Scrolls lay undiscovered. So what, exactly, do these scrolls contain?

Fun Facts About The Dead Sea Scrolls


In 1956, Cave 11 yielded thirty manuscripts, among which was the nine meter-long Temple Scroll. Wow – that’s as long as two SUV’s laid end-to-end or (and here’s a sobering thought) as long as a Nile crocodile. Fortunately, ancient scripture wasn’t written on crocs. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out which would be easier to hold down. A few papyrus fragments were also discovered in Cave 7 (these fragments were the size of a croc egg squashed flat by a Nile hippo and picked clean by a hungry egret). The Cave 7 papyrus is unusual in that a) they were papyrus, rather than parchment; b) they were not stepped on by a hippo or pecked at by an egret; and c) they were written in Greek. This (the papyrus and Greek combination, not the hippo and egret factor) prompted one scholar (José O’Callaghan) to suggest that these fragments represent New Testament material. However, the Cave 7 papyrus pieces are too small to make sense of them, so O’Callaghan’s claim appears to be based more upon wishful thinking than upon scholarly analysis

More About The Copper Scroll

In the fortress which is in the Vale of Achor, forty cubits under the steps entering to the east: a money chest and it [sic] contents, of a weight of seventeen talents." So begins the first column of the Copper Scroll, one of the most intriguing, and baffling, scrolls to be found among the collection known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Copper Scroll

It was found in 1952 in Cave 3 at Khirbet Qumran on the shores of the Dead Sea, one of the few scrolls to be discovered in the place where it had lain for nearly 2,000 years. Most of what are called the "Dead Sea Scrolls" were found by Bedouin and sold through antiquities dealers, but this one was actually discovered by archaeologists--a rare occasion during those years. In ancient times the text of the document had been incised on thin sheets of copper which were then joined together. At the time it was found, however, the document was rolled into two separate scrolls of heavily oxidized copper which was far too brittle to unroll.

For five years scholars and experts discussed ways of opening the scroll. Finally, they decided to cut the scroll into sections from the outside using a small saw. Working very carefully they cut the scroll into 23 strips, each one curved into a half-cylinder. Before it was cut, one scholar thought he saw words for silver and gold and suggested that the scroll was a list of buried treasure. Sure enough, when it was deciphered that scholar turned out to be right!

Photograph by Bruce and Kenneth Zuckerman, West Semitic Research, in collaboration with the Princeton Theological Seminary. Courtesy Department of Antiquities, Jordan.

Commentary by Marilyn J. Lundberg. http://www.usc.edu

Fun Facts About The Dead Sea Scroll


The Copper Scroll, a list of the Essenes’ treasure troves, was discovered in Cave 3 in 1952, but nobody knows if any of the listed treasures have ever been found. And these treasures must have been considerable. Remember, we’re talking about a religious group that required their recruits to turn all of their worldly possessions over to the communal treasury. Two centuries of taking everybody’s everything adds up to a whole lotta loot! So much, in fact, that the Essenes stashed it away not in one cache, or even in a dozen caches.

According to the Copper Scroll, the vast treasure of the Essenes was divided into more than 60 caches. Hm. Makes a person want to take a stroll in the Judean desert with a turbo-charged metal detector, doesn’t it? On the other hand, some scholars believe the Copper Scroll lists the treasures of the Jewish Temple. Whichever it is, the value of the treasure is estimated to be in the billions of dollars, not counting the historical value. Perhaps it was pilfered by the Romans at the tips of their swords, perhaps it was retrieved by surviving Essenes, perhaps it lies in hiding still, awaiting its discoverers. We may never know.

Fun Facts About The Dead Sea Scroll


How many other scrolls were found?

In rough scientific terms, oodles and oodles. Cave 4 yielded 15,000 fragments of more than 800 manuscripts. However, the scrolls in Cave 4 were in such poor repair that some believe Cave 4 was a genizah—a scroll dump where the Essenes deposited worn out scrolls to molder away, according to the dictates of their faith regarding the disposal of sacred scriptures. These scroll fragments were chewed into pieces and scattered by rodents and insects, not to mention used as nesting material. They were shredded by two thousand years of wind and weather shifts, and the fragments that survived were saturated with urine and coated with feces from the bats, rodents, and birds that occupied the cave. These fragments were in such decay and disarray that for many years researchers believed they represented far fewer manuscripts. Only recently has the scrolls team been able to make sense of many of these fragments.

Fun Facts About The Dead Sea Scroll

So far I've introduced the
  • Dead Sea and its environs,
  • the cliff-caves at Qumran (where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found),
  • the ruins of the residential complex (Khirbet Qumran),
  • and the keepers of the scrolls (i.e., presumably the Essene Jews).
and I've also touched on
  • salted microbes,
  • receding shorelines,
  • earth-sucking sinkholes,
  • Sons of Extravagant Metaphors,
  • and rooms that start with a “D.”

All in all, it sounds a bit like a game of Jeopardy running riot in the Holy Land. Now let's tackle everything from broken letters and squashed crocodile eggs to Abraham Lincoln or, as he is better known to respected historians worldwide, Abey-Baby. Follow my posts and you'll see what I mean:


The Dead Sea Scrolls were excavated from eleven caves (five of them natural limestone; six of them man made) between 1947 and 1956. The scroll fragments range from relatively complete manuscripts to pieces of parchment containing only a letter, or even just half a letter. This wealth of fragments represents over 900 manuscripts, but many scroll fragments are so insignificant as to be virtually if not totally useless.

The initial find was in Cave 1, which contained ten scroll jars. Nine of these jars were empty or filled with dirt, but the tenth housed the original seven scrolls discovered at Qumran. These were complete scrolls, unlike most other scrolls, which are fragmented.

Now, some scholars believe the find at Cave 1 indicates that the Essenes were massacred. They believe that the scrolls in Cave 1 prove the Essenes never returned to retrieve their precious scriptures. Hence, they must have been wiped out, to the last man. I have a different theory. I don’t look at the one full scroll jar, but at the nine empty ones. I believe some of the Essenes did survive the massacre. The survivors would have been forced to sneak around at night. They could not afford to light a candle or torch, out of fear of alerting the rampaging Roman soldiers to their presence. Under these conditions, the survivors would have recovered their scrolls at night. Unable to see in the dark, they simply missed one of the ten jars.