Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell

The Fifth Gospel
by Ian Caldwell
Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 978-1-4516-9414-7-6
Buy from Indigo

Description: In 2004, as Pope John Paul’s reign enters its twilight, a mysterious exhibit is under construction at the Vatican Museums. A week before it is scheduled to open, its curator is murdered at a clandestine meeting on the outskirts of Rome. The same night, a violent break-in rocks the home of the curator’s research partner, Father Alex Andreou, a married Greek Catholic priest who lives inside the Vatican with his five-year-old son.

When the papal police fail to identify a suspect in the robbery, Father Alex, desperate to keep his family safe, undertakes his own investigation into both crimes. His only hope of finding the killer is to reconstruct the dead curator’s final secret: what the four Christian gospels—and a little-known, true-to-life fifth gospel named the Diatessaron—reveal about the Church’s most controversial holy relic. But just as he begins to understand the truth about his friend’s death, a secretive tribunal is convened to try the murder—and when Father Alex learns the identity of the accused, he is devastated. Now he must navigate the ancient and perilous legal system of the Catholic Church, which offers no presumption of innocence, no jury, and no right to face one’s accuser. As evidence vanishes and witnesses refuse to testify, Father Alex realizes the system is controlled by someone with vested stakes in the exhibit—someone he must outwit to survive

The Good Stuff
  •  Learned so much about the differences between Roman Catholics, Eastern Catholics and Orthodox - for a girl who never went to church, you would think this would be dull and above her understanding, but nope got it and learned so much and was so fascinated by it all
  • This is soooo not my usual type of novel, but I was intrigued by the premise, and I wasn't disappointed
  • Fabulous character development
  • Thoroughly delighted by the relationship between Alex and his son, Peter (from my experience with Ian Caldwell so far, he is fascinated by the relationships between father and son) 
  • Had no real interest in the Bible, Catholicism and quite frankly also no interest in every visiting Vatican City.  That has changed thanks to this novel (Yup I even brought a copy of The Idiots Guide to the Bible - yeah have no religious background or knowledge whatsoever) I also have now added Italy to my list of places I NEED to go to
  • Plenty of twists and turns and red herrings.  Not a page turner, but it was still fascinating
  • Father Alex is a wonderful protagonist that you cheer for and love
  • The scene regarding the Orthodox and the Pope was beautiful and brought me to tears 
  • Wow what supposedly good Catholics did in the name of God disgusts me. But lets face it this isn't something that just Catholics have done.
  • Realistic portrayal of  Postpartum Depression
  • Essences of Hope
  • For someone like me with no real love for organized religion (Um why, you ask, History, I answer) it was nice to see a positive (yet frank) portrayal of  the Vatican and Catholics in general
  • I can see the comparison between Dan Brown, but I found it more fascinating (and less confusing) than Dan Brown
  • Inspiring, and beautiful

The Not So Good Stuff
  • The portrayal of Librarians was soo not flattering (Ok they are religious Librarians, but come on! -- sorry its one of those sore points)  There were many occasions where I rolled my eyes and gasped - enough with the anal Librarians (that sounds so much kinkier than it is LOL)
  • Was a tad confusing for this non religious girl 
  • Don\t laugh, but I still am not sure about the significance about the last 5 o 6 pages (again I must mention the fact that I wasn't raised in a religious household)

Favorite Quotes/Passages

 "They're so embarrassingly cartoonish tat for an artist to have created them in the shadow of the Sistine Chapel seems to require a belief in the existence of purgatory."

"All lay workers have to sign ninety-five moral conditions of employment, and librarians tend to be stickers for the ones about papal property."

"Peter is the duet that Mona and I wrote together"

"Priests underestimate the appetite of laymen for cheap thrills about Jesus."

"There is one law under God. And it is love."

4.5  Dewey's

I received this from Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review


  1. Wow, great breakdown of the what you did and didn't love about this book! I only heard about this book a few weeks ago and your review has reminded me to try finding it. Have you read anything else by Ian Caldwell?

  2. I read his first book, it wasn't as good, but still enjoyable. Rule of Four (First book) is more of a coming of age story dealing with Father issues than a mystery, but it was still worth a read

  3. I'm intrigued - read about this in the catalogues, so I'm intrigued to see how the storyline develops!

  4. I really enjoyed it Jenn, will bring it to you when I visit in July