by Ian Caldwell
Simon and Schuster
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)
"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."
I received this from Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review