Irving Wallace’s The Word is not a religious novel any more than Elmer Gantry is.
It’s a suspense-packed novel about Steve Randall, a public relations man who has had a buy-out offer that would give him enough money to be able to go write a novel.
There’s a hitch: He first has to organize a PR campaign for a new translation of the New Testament incorporating a recently-found gospel by James, the younger brother of Jesus, that contradicts existing accounts.
An international syndicate of religious publishers and theologians are risking their fortunes on the success of the new translation.
Steve, who has no faith, is intrigued.
Doing background research for the book launch, Steve comes upon various bits of information that don’t add up. Digging deeper, he finds a tangle of deceits with deadly consequences.
Since The Word is an Wallace novel, the leading man must have minimum of three sex partners in 500 pages and wind up doing something of redeeming social value.
Despite those preset parameters, Wallace holds readers’ attention. There’s plenty of technical detail to make the story seem mysterious, and plenty of weird characters to make it feel threatening.
The Word is a definite page turner.
The Word: A novel by Irving Wallace
Simon and Schuster, ©1972. 576 p.
1972 bestseller #5. My grade: B
© 2018 Linda Gorton Aragoni