I got this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers and here is my review
Book Summary (from Goodreads.com)
The Gospel of Damascus is an eschatological novel that weaves sacred traditions to tell the story of eight angels who identify and prepare Yune Bukhari, a Damascene man born to a Christian mother and Muslim father, to be one of the successors to the Disciples of Christ. The preparation process is complex and entails spiritual and sensual experiences which Yune must successfully undergo. Guiding the preparation process are golden scrolls which can only be opened at very specific dates. The story appears to culminate on Christmas Eve 1999 when Yune, along with his co-disciples, believe Christ will return. Yune is shattered when Christ fails to descend on the White Tower east of Damascus. But thirty-three years later, the preparation of Yune is over and he is finally permitted to witness the event he had anticipated for so long.
I was attracted to this book by it’s summary at LybraryThing.com. The whole story seemed interesting, as its premise was an intertwined tale of several religions and cultures, a subject that I really enjoyed.
This is Imady’s first novel, but you can tell from the writing that is not the first time he writes. The rhythm is fluid and easy to follow through the story of Yune. Also, the fisrt part of the book, in which a lot of terms, facts and situations are introduced flows a bit better (in my opinion) than the parts involving dialogues or the most fictional part.
The main character of the story, Yune is a fire horse, a boy born in the year of the horse (Chinese culture) but in a year that this will be called the fire horse, someone who will show the characteristics of this animal symbol (individualism, love of freedom, hatred to mediocrity) in a highly accentuated manner.
The story is not told by Yune, but by Raqeem, one of the 8 angels entrusted with the task of facilitating God’s design on earth. These angels come to Earth for a certain period of time, and are the guardians of different qualities such as spiritual change, balance, wisdom, etc. In this case, Raqueem is to help the formation of Yune, and all he knows is that this boy will bring a big change to the world. Every certain time, he will open a golden scroll that will contain “instructions” in the form of riddle to know what to do next.
We follow then the growth in every possible manner of Yune, from traveling, learning and falling in love, to jealousy, lost of love, and finally the forming of a covenant with 12 disciples to prepare for the second coming of the Christ. He believes it will be on Christmas Eve 99 but, as it turns out, nothing extraordinary happens then. It will take the shattering of his soul and heart, and a world-wide transformation, as well as 33 more years, for Yune to see what he was being prepared for.
Did I like the book? Parts of it, specially the beginning as I said before. However there was a lot of subject introduced at the beginning, which usually doesn’t bother me if it comes back later, but it was not really the case. Also, as I mentioned, the dialogues need more work to read fluidly. I liked the idea behind the book as well as some messages left from i: that you have to find yourself before finding anything else, that you won’t arrive to your final destination knowingly and that it will be hard but worth it once you get there.