Jannes Comes to America: My Review of James Byron Huggins’ Sorcerer

Michael Thorn and his wife have just moved to the outskirts of Salem, Massachusetts and want to settle into a quiet, semi-normal life. Thorn, a retired detective and former Special Forces operative, has seen enough violence to last several lifetimes. He now wants to focus on his marriage and his children. Unfortunately, the Thorn family’s new digs include the skeleton of one of the most evil sorcerers in history. When Thorn discovers the skeleton, he unintentionally frees the ancient evil to unleash havoc and horror on unsuspecting innocents in what had been a quiet New England hamlet. Such is the premise of James Byron Huggins’ supernatural thriller Sorcerer.

The sorcerer unleashed on the world by Thorn is none other than Jannes — the very sorcerer who faced Moses in ancient Egypt. Jannes is, of course, an actual figure from the Scriptures. That he winds up in North America thousands of years after his failed confrontation with Moses signals that we’re definitely reading fiction. It’s entertaining fiction, but definitely fiction as there is no evidence whatsoever that Jannes and his colleague Jambres ever left Egypt. Huggins goes further, imagining that Jannes was the real power behind Egypt’s throne. Pharaoh was but a puppet to Jannes’ evil scheming and palace intrigue. It is true that the Bible records Pharaoh’s magicians performing “enchantments” (see Exodus 7). If the Bible is true (and I believe it is), then the sorcerers who confronted Moses possessed supernatural powers. Huggins’ novel runs with that biblical claim.

Huggins’ protagonist, Michael Thorn, resembles those from Huggins’ other novels. Brave. Tough. Ex-military. Proficient with firearms. Huggins has lots of experience with this type of protagonist. Like Huggins’ other heroes, Thorn must face extreme odds in a fierce fight between good and evil. Thorn is aided by a devout priest, a wise professor, and a mysterious unit of Special Forces soldiers that report to the Vatican. Whether such a force actually exists, this non-Catholic cannot say. I have my doubts. But, again, Sorcerer is fiction.

As one who loves action-packed novels, I’ve long been a fan of Huggins’ work. While he can sometimes get bogged down in firearms minutiae, Huggins knows how to craft heroic protagonists, evil villains, and thrilling action sequences. If you at all appreciate Christian fantasy or science fiction, I encourage you to pick up Sorcerer.