Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell,great...

Starred Review* The Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church are the largest branches of the Christian-religion tree. Almost unknown are Eastern Catholics, who follow Eastern traditions but proclaim their loyalty to the pope. Brothers Simon and Alex are priests, though Simon is climbing the Vatican ladder, while Alex has followed his father into the Eastern Catholic priesthood. Allowed to marry before ordination, Alex has a young son, Peter, which makes him even more of an oddity in Vatican City, where he lives. His life takes a dangerous turn when a friend, the curator of a Shroud of Turin exhibit, is murdered on the eve of the show's opening. There are secrets here, slowly revealed, that could change the face of Christianity if the truth about the shroud and an ancient fifth gospel—one that tries to reconcile the synoptic gospels with the gospel of John—comes to light. Caldwell, coauthor of the international bestseller, The Rule of Four (2000), has invaded Da Vinci Code territory here, but his version has more in common with high-end literary-historical thrillers like those by Iain Pears than it does with Dan Brown. Here motives are nuanced shadows that are as hard to grasp for Alex as they are for readers. It is this very elusiveness, juxtaposed against a strong sense of place, that intrigues, making this the best kind of page-turner, one about which you also have to think. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Caldwell's publisher smells Big Book with this one and plans to make it as easy as possible for readers to pick up the scent. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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