A murder at the Taj Mahal. A kidnapping in a sacred city. A desperate chase through a cliffside monastery. All in the pursuit of a legend that could link the world’s great religious faiths.

Graduate student Grant Matthews journeys to the Himalayas in search of this ancient legend, but he doesn’t anticipate the conspiracy of zealots who will go to any length to prevent him from bringing this mystery public. Soon he is in a race to expose a truth that could change the world’s understanding of religion. A truth that his university colleagues deride as mere myth. A truth that could change his life forever—if he survives.

THE BREATH OF GOD (West Hills Press, an imprint of Hundreds of Heads Books; March 2011; Trade Paperback), a riveting debut novel by scholar Jeffrey Small, spins its suspenseful plot around one of the great mysteries of the Bible: the missing years of Jesus of Nazareth. What happened to Jesus between the ages of twelve and twenty-nine, two decades of his life about which the Bible is silent? Jeffrey Small, a graduate of Yale, Harvard, and Oxford universities, weaves a thought- provoking thriller inspired by his research on a Russian journalist’s actual historical discovery over a century ago. In 1887, Nicholas Notovitch uncovered evidence in a remote Himalayan monastery that revealed where Jesus was and what he did during those lost years. After he published his findings in 1894, he was condemned and silenced for the heresy that threatened to shake the very foundations of Christianity. His discovery mysteriously vanished shortly thereafter.

In THE BREATH OF GOD, protagonist Grant Matthews, who is completing his Ph.D. thesis on Notovitch’s discovery, races against a conspiracy of extremists in search of the Russian’s forgotten secret. Grant encounters journalist Kristin Misaki who joins him on a journey to the world’s grandest Islamic landmark, the most sacred Hindu city, and the birthplace of Buddhism—all in the quest to understand the origins of Christianity. Their search culminates at Tiger’s Nest, a Himalayan cliff-side monastery, where evil lurks at every turn, where a religious fanatic hopes to destroy the evidence of the ancient mystery, and where the life of the beloved monk who saved Grant from a tragic accident hangs in jeopardy. Grant and Kristin soon realize that the similar mystical traditions they uncover within the world’s greatest religions have the power to transform their lives.

Set amidst the dramatic Himalayan landscapes of Bhutan and the exotic mystical land of India, Jeffrey Small’s debut novel, THE BREATH OF GOD, an exhaustively researched page-turner about hidden mystical teachings, religious secrets, ancient cover-ups, religious fanatics, and power-hungry evangelicals who distort the truth for their agendas, is an intriguing novel of suspense that blends Eastern and Western religious thought.


JEFFREY SMALL graduated summa cum laude from Yale University and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. He holds a master’s degree in the study of religions from Oxford University. Jeffrey is an acclaimed speaker on the topics of rethinking religion in the twenty-first century and the common spiritual themes in the world’s religions. He is the author of GOD AS THE GROUND OF BEING: Tillich and Buddhism in Dialogue and blogs about spiritual topics at JeffreySmall.com. THE BREATH OF GOD is his first novel. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and daughter.


By Jeffrey Small


West Hills Press, an imprint of Hundreds of Heads Books

March 2011

ISBN: 978-1-933512-86-0