'The Jesus Family Tomb' claims to tell the story of the discovery of Jesus' family tomb. It may be impossible to confirm for definite that the tomb is that of the holy family but authors Simcha Jacobovici and Charles Pellegrino are convinced.

As they say themselves, real-life detective techniques, archaeology and cutting edge science combine to reveal the truth behind the finding of a tomb and ossuaries (bone boxes to you and me) at Talpiot in the 1980s. They also attempt to make a clear connection between that find and the James ossuary - the alleged remains of Jesus' brother - which were discovered on the black market just four years ago.

As well as detective work and new technology, mathematics and trial and error came in to play during the course of the searches and examinations - and that may leave readers of this book in some doubt.

Names and titles associated with Jesus and his family were found on the ossuaries - Jesus, son of Joseph, Marianme (for Mary Magdelene), for example - and the authors attached percentages to each based on the number of people in Jerusalem with those names and relatives with those names.

So what they are saying is that this is not fact, but probably fact.

Controversially, they also ponder on the possible relationship between Jesus and Mary Madgelene and suggest that a younger male - of which there is evidence - may be their son.

Although it may be difficult to believe a lot of what is said, it is exciting to wonder if it is all true. If you enjoyed 'The Da Vinci Code', or even 'Raiders of the Lost Ark', then this is the book for you.

Mark O'Neill-Cummins

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