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.
I’m a sucker for anything that smacks of “history” and “crime”, and this one has plenty of both.
When the Vatican police are unable to find the person who broke into Father Alex’s house, or who murdered his friend, he decides to do a little investigating of his own, and falls headlong into a centuries old mystery relating to the fifth gospel, known as the Diatessaron.
I enjoyed this book a lot more once the initial set up was over with. Once it got into the meat of the story – following the history of the Diatessaron and the Shroud of Turin, it became much more interesting. My knowledge of church history is shaky at best, so I really couldn’t say how much is rooted in history and how much was created by the story, but I don’t think it really matters. Enough history is included for the story to make sense, making it accessible for everyone regardless of their background.
Despite all the different plots in the story – the murder and break in, the Diatessaron, marriage break down, brotherly love – there’s nothing overwhelming or difficult to follow. It’s simply a well paced, well written, churchy mystery. For those that want to compare it to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code: go wash your mouth out! Brown doesn’t come close to Ian Caldwell in any way, shape or form.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.