The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Wealth of History and Mystery

Most of us have heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls but may be a little fuzzy on the details of this most significant archaeological discovery of our time.  More than 900 scrolls, including the oldest copies of the Bible, were found between 1946 and 1956 in caves at Khirbet Qumran along the northwest shores of the Dead Sea.  With the discovery, however, arose more questions than answers:  Who transcribed the Scrolls and where did the authors go?  Why were the Scrolls written and hidden in the desert so far from inhabited villages?  How were the Scrolls hidden, and how did they remain concealed and preserved for so many thousands of years?

You can imagine my excitement when I recently had the opportunity to visit the Dead Sea Scroll exhibit at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute.  For the first time ever, I had a chance to see parts of the actual findings up close and personal! This was very special to me since I’ve referred to the Scrolls many times in my writing.

In The Red Serpent I borrowed many interesting facts from the historic Dead Sea discovery and wove a fascinating work of fiction intertwining history, myth, legend, and religion.  Short, descriptive, historic cameos are interspersed within the book, complete with characters that bring the mysteries of the Scrolls to life and colorfully illustrate the many questions that were raised – along with the answers.  Since not everyone will be able to visit the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, The Red Serpent might just be the next best thing!


More Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars The Red Serpent August 21, 2012
By la vie en rose
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Exciting to the core. The pages are bursting with intrigue and suspense. Taking you over decades of corruption and greed in a fight to overcome evil with truth and justice. It attaches your self to the fight for good in a corrupt world. Very believable. Intense writing and historical accuracy. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful August 18, 2012
By rJay
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Absolutely Fantastic, couldn’t put it down…recommend you add Mr. Merris to your list of must reads…as I finished the Red Serpent all I could think of was, what happens next? Powerful, Wonderful Read…


Anyone catch the summer season of “White Collar” on USA Network?  If so, you’ll remember how the first two episodes took place on a “remote island off the African coast.”  If not, it’s still On Demand.

I was in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, researching my next book with my wife last March, when we strolled out of our breakfast café and onto a film set.

My wife ran up to a tall, not-very-approachable man with a clip board and asked what they were filming.  “White Collar,” came the curt reply.

Undaunted, my wife went on to gush how she loves the show and watches every episode.  Turns out the very streets and markets we were ambling through were all part of the set.  We talked with some of the extras and one assistant director. We got video of Matt Bomer, Willy Garson, and Tim DeKay under a tent in their personalized canvas-back chairs, as well as of them shooting live footage up the street.

Both episodes were shot throughout the streets of Old San Juan and at many of the historic sites we visited, so we have two hours of professionally filmed background from our stay. What a unique, unexpected, and delightful diversion it was!


Book Reviews

Book reviews courtesy of

5.0 out of 5 stars Fast and Furious July 28, 2012

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Larry Merris has created a good story. The Red Serpent is fast-paced, devoid of superfluous side-tracks and useless characters. Mr. Merris weaves fact and myth, history, religion, and science in an imaginative and exciting combination. The principals of the story, those for good and those for evil, progress swiftly and surely, although the reader cannot be sure which are which for quite some time. The conclusion will not satisfy everyone, but it is definitely not a last act. For the faithful, there is much more to come.
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT BEACH BOOK August 6, 2012

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What’s With Steel-Cut Oats?

I’ve recently seen three television shows in which the characters are breakfasting on “steel cut oats.”  I couldn’t help wonder just what this means.  After all, anything that repeatedly shows up in TV dialogue is a safe bet to be one of the latest trends.

Turns out, duh, it has to do with the processing.  Oat cereals start out as hulled, toasted oat grains called groats, which also includes the bran.  In the steel-cut variety, the groats are chopped into chunks the size of sesame seeds. Period.  We’re most familiar with the old-fashioned rolled oats, which are made by steaming the toasted groats and rolling them flat to produce flakes. The quicker the cooking time on the box, the thinner the flake.

Steel-cut oats are chewier, denser, and take over twenty minutes to prepare.  So much for our national fetish with instant gratification.  But they are touted by athletes and nutritionists as being the healthier, hence trendier, choice.  This explains the higher price steel-cut oats command in restaurants and cafés. The truth is: for fiber, protein, calories, and lower glycemic  impact , any plain, unflavored oatmeal you actually have to cook for a few minutes is pretty much the same.