Fiction Review: The Topkapi Secret by Terry Kelhawk

The Topkapi Secret
by Terry Kelhawk
Copyright 2010
Prometheus Books
425 pages
ISBN: 978-1-61614-213-1

From the publisher:
A fourteen hundred year old cover-up…
All who threaten this secret die…
A race through the Middle East to uncover evidence buried in plain sight…

Cultures clash and emotions soar as Arab researcher Mohammed Atareek and American professor Angela Hall race away from death towards discovery. Will they succeed in their journey to expose the truth, or will the opposition terminate them first?

On display within the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul lies the Topkapi Codex—an ancient manuscript of the Koran involved in the murder that split Shiite from Sunni. What’s the truth about the Topkapi Codex? Is there blood on it? Are its contents the same as the modern Koran’s? No one knows because the Topkapi Codex is off limits to research.

Mohammed Atareek is obsessed with getting his hands on this mysterious manuscript. His research has convinced him that the Koran has been changed many times, and the text of the famous codex could prove it. But other scholars are turning up dead. Did they share his conviction? Should he expose himself to their risk?

Angela, a UC Berkeley English professor, married money and kept it; but lost the marriage, most of her family, and a friend under traumatic circumstances. On top of that, she makes a career move that puts her in the Middle East and in Mohammed’s path. His overconfident, witty, and impulsive personality is both puzzling and refreshing to Angela. But when Mohammed tries to engage her in his quest, he finds she has an agenda of her own. Cat and mouse games, heated discussions, and sparks of romance inevitably ensue.

My Review:
Lately I've been on a roll, reading more suspense novels this year than I've read in my entire life. From the looks of my books to be read pile this book, The Topkapi Secret will be the last suspense novel that I review until the new year. What a way to finish off the year! While I've seen this book on a lot of Christian fiction sites it's not Christian fiction but rather religious fiction set around the roots of Islam and the Koran. I don't know a lot about the Islamic faith but I have to admit that this book was really interesting and appeared to be very well researched. Anytime I read a novel where the author provides an appendix of sources that she used I'm more apt to appreciate the story itself. It really shows that the author cared enough about what she wrote and tried to make it as informative as possible while still making great fiction.

If you are a fan of suspense you will not be disappointed in the least. The Topkapi Secret starts out with a murder and the intrigue continues from that point on and doesn't let up. The characters were in a race across the Middle East and Europe, I was always wondering what was going to happen next. In fact, I was on the edge of my seat for most of the story! While mostly serious, there were a few moments of comic relief where I could catch my breath.

The characters of Mohammed and Angela weren't the most dynamic but it was interesting to read a story where two cultures, American and Middle Eastern collided. And while I'm a fan of romance I must say it almost detracted from the story that. The rather silly ending prevented me from giving this book five stars but it's definitely a four star book and I'd like to read what Terry comes out with next.

***PLEASE NOTE: This novel has some language (an abusive man uses abusive language early in the book) and an intimate scene (necessary to the plot development late in the novel).!/pages/The-Topkapi-Secret/112870552068331

*Many thanks to Glass Roads PR for providing my complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.*


  1. This sounds like something I would love. I love suspense.

  2. Last year I would have ben like "Eww suspense?" but this year the one's I've read have been so good I'm now a fan!

    XOXO~ Renee


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