© Travis Edward Pike

       Talbot Hall is an American archeologist working at the fabled city of Aphrodisias in present day Turkey. A Turkish colleague surreptitiously reveals an ancient scroll written in Aramaic and addressed to Saul of Tarsus. Ostensibly from a friend and fellow seeker in Ephesus, the letter urges Saint Paul to abandon the folly of his new-born Christianity before it leads to his destruction. Included is a signed interview in which Mary and James deny the Divinity of Jesus. Stunned by the implications of such a document, Talbot takes a cut from the edge of the scroll to have it carbon dated. The document is of the time of Christ.

       Wilhelm Holz, a German Jesuit and recognized archeologist gets wind of the document and demands to see it. Talbot, wary of the Jesuit’s motives, stalls him. Wilhelm contacts the “Black Pope”, head of the Jesuit organization in Rome, but before any further action can be taken, Dr. Turgal, the Turkish archeologist is murdered by terrorists and the document is stolen. The rest of the story is involved in a bloody chase across Turkey in an attempt to recover the stolen letter. Talbot and Wilhelm are pitted against each other and both are pursued and observed by the Turkish authorities as mayhem follows in their wake leading to a bloody pitched battle with the terrorists at the Turkish-Soviet border that threatens to trigger World War III.

       Ultimately, the letter is discovered to be a clever forgery created in Odessa on the Black Sea. Its sole purpose was to undermine Solidarity and other such movements within the Soviet bloc supported by the Vatican. This high adventure spy thriller has the initial support of the Turkish government and should have real appeal to stars looking for this type of vehicle.

       During the story we visit Ephesus, where the Catholic church has built a shrine over the place where it is believed Mary lived her last days. We will see many fascinating Greco-Roman ruins along the Mediterranean coast and spend some short time in Istanbul, at locations I have scouted as a guest of the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and Information, and I could not possibly overstate Turkey’s incredible production values. On the other hand, equipment and department heads would have to be brought into the country from the U.S. or Europe, as would raw stock. But off-setting that, the Turkish government will provide available military units called for in the script. Budget: $6,000,000 plus stars.