Just a few hours ago, on Shabbat I finished reading the most amazing and mesmerizing and thought provoking book, The Falconi Effect: A Modern Novel about the Days of the Messiah, by Catriel Sugarman. Some of you may remember Sugarman's very popular articles about life of the Kohanim/Priests during Third Holy Temple times, that used to appear in OU's Torah Tidbits. And you may have known about or bought/received his museum quality wood craft Judaica, which he designed, constructed and sold from his workshop on Shlomzion Hamalka Street, Jerusalem for many years. He is also famous for being the craftsman appointed to repair and reconstruct Rebbe Nachman's Chair.
Sugarman's greatest Judaica project was the Second Temple, for which he and his staff did thorough research to get every detail as exact as humanly possible from the sources available. I must admit that I've known him for close to half a century, and in his earlier days as a carpenter, before crafting Judaica, he built us closets.
Today Sugarman is considered one of the experts about the Holy Temple and how it functioned in Biblical Times. Not sufficing in that, he can picture how the Third Temple will function. And that is how I must introduce his brilliant book, The Falconi Effect.
The Falconi Effect takes place during the time of the Third Temple, not at all far in the future. We are not told the year, and we are not given any details about how exactly Har Habayit, The Temple Mount was liberated by the Jewish People and the Holy Temple suddenly appeared there. We just must accept the premise that a miracle happened. But for my generation and older, if someone had been in a coma or hiking in the mountains or desert for the first two weeks of June, 1967, they'd find the results of the Six Days War just as surprising if not moreso.
Nowadays, when people of all ages, children, teens and adults, too, read Harry Potter with great enthusiasm, I don't see why anyone would have a problem getting into The Falconi Effect, which is much more realistic and more magical. We are let into the logistics of how the Temple staff get ready for the three pilgrimage festivals when seemingly impossible numbers come to Jerusalem. Not only do they have to worry about hotel rooms, families hosting pilgrims, sufficient transportation from the airports, they have to make sure there's enough flax for the priests' new robes. When not only does the storage system malfunction, but all of the emergency alarms stay silent leaving them flaxless, the staff scours the world for suitable flax and then everything that can go wrong does so. They finally get some high quality flax, and then we find out who is causing the international anarchy, Falconi. And then the Kohen Gadol, High Priest, literally changes the world. I don't want to get into details and plot-spoiling.
The main characters are jaded journalists, a leading anarchist, a self-made man who controls international media and Temple staff. And the plot and characters all work as they should. It is plausible; it is magic. I told Casey that I had no idea he could write so well, and he must write more books.
I highly recommend The Falconi Effect. This is the best of its genre. Buy it for yourself, your kids, your friends. Give it as a gift. Choose it for your book club. You can get a paper copy or as an ebook/Kindle.