2.5 stars (and that's being generous)Nearly all the dialog in this book is devoted to espousing Gnostic theology and early Christian history. None of the history (or theology) was a surprise to me as I have studied, albeit briefly, this subject previously. The word "mystery" in the title refers to not only the mystery surrounding the discovery of a couple of Dead Sea Scrolls, but also the first secret "mystery" of the Gnostic path. I refrain from using the words "belief" or "faith" because the characters in this book relating Gnostic theology denigrated those actions as being of the lower self, or ego, that causes all human suffering. The only piece of early Christian history that I felt was missing was a reference to the Q gospel. The characters claim as well that the Essenes wrote the Gospels, and that the Essenes became the Early Christians who were in fact Gnostic. Another common interjection was that the gospel authors supplied calculated inclusions, specifically the symbol of the dove, the virgin birth, the miracles of Jesus, entire passages plagiarized from the Mystery religions of the Ancient World -- all in an effort to evangelize people with commonly known stories and symbols. The characters claimed the Gnostics placed no value on historical fact, assumedly the basis for the "Literalist" (aka Catholic) church's teachings, and preferred allegory. Yet most of the scholars in this story spent an amazing amount of time using archaeological and historical "facts" to support the Gnostic "allegory." I was somewhat disturbed that the academics in this novel rarely sought an opposing view. Besides the puppet characters of Jack and Punjeeh to spur on the lecture with inane comments, Gnostic theology flowed freely with barely any skepticism. If you were expecting a historical or contemporary mystery of the sort that fits into the crime or detective category, you will be disappointed. The only mystery is disguising a novel as an alternative early Christian history and theology treatise.