I first discovered The Book of Names by Jill Gregory and Karen Tintori when searching for novels similar to my own "True Identity" ... spiritual, suspense thrillers with a Kabbalistic, Jewish theme that I could compare and learn from to become a better author myself.
The Book of Names centers on the Talmudic concept of the Lamed Vovniks, or the thirty-six righteous individuals who see the Divine Presence with a clear vision and whose presence prevents the world's destruction. The identity of these pure souls is a secret, as they themselves are unaware of their special status. But then archaeologists discover the remnants of the Book of Adam, a manuscript said to be written by the first man himself and to contain the names of all creatures in every generation. Among those names are those of the Lamed Vovniks... past, present and future.
The Gnoseos are a secret cult with members from many nations who see the world as evil and its destruction as the way for them to escape its clutches and ascend to the realm of spirit. For them, God is a prison guard and all forms of evil acts are justified to destroy his/her creation and attain their goal. Through the use of assassins known as Dark Angels, they systematically kill each of the Lamed Vovniks in order to remove their protective shield over creation. Standing in their way are a group of rabbis, the Mossad and their young female agent, and a political science professor from Georgetown.
David Shephard was raised Jewish, but hasn't seen the inside of a synagogue since his Bar Mitzvah. A freak childhood accident almost kills him. Since then, he's been hearing random names in his mind and writing them down in a journal. Little does he know that knowledge of these names will one day save the world.
As a Jewish author and student of Kabbalah, I was captivated by the promise of this story. It was a fast-paced read with lots of action. But, the detailed descriptions of Kabbalistic principles interspersed throughout the text tended to keep me from being totally immersed in the novel, a hazard I understand, as it's a problem that I've had to conquer in my own writings. I also found some discrepancies in the plot premise itself. For example, the Gnoseos sought the destruction of our world in order to ascend to a spiritual existence, yet they kidnapped young women in order to repopulate their new world. And, at times, the descriptions of violence seemed shallow and repetitive.
Overall, I found The Book of Names to be a fun read and informative for those less knowledgeable of Jewish mystical belief and practice. I'd give it 3 out of 5 stars and would definitely recommend you give it a chance.