Well, that was disappointing. The thing I like the most about Laurie R. King is how she weaves her scholarly passion for faith and spirituality into all her books. She has made this an integral part of her novels but doesn't create situations where you feel left out or lacking. Except for this one.
Granted, putting your main character - a Jew - smack in the middle of Israel on her way to Jerusalem, creates for a certain kind of urgency on the part of the writer to explain everything about Judaism just so. But she describes every single part of Judaic tradition - no, strike that - every part of Judaic history in excruciating detail and without much explanation. Names and places fly past at the speed of your eye across the page, and by 2/3 of the way through I gave up squinting at them all and trying to understand how they fit in.
If you do that, it's not a bad story - Holmes and Russell dropped into a situation they are completely unprepared for with companions who despise them, off to save The Good British Commander and Liberator of Jerusalem. But even with that interesting thread, there is little Holmes-ish-ness and while Russell at least gets to chafe at the bonds that tie women down in the Middle East, it's not enough.
My guess is that King didn't know where to go next with her story, so plunked this down back in the storyline because it really was a one-off she didn't know how to do right.