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Visions of the Virgin Mary, secret documents and politicking in the highest echelons of the Catholic Church—Berry (The Amber Room) combines combustive elements in this well-researched thriller. In 1917, the Virgin Mary revealed herself to three children in Fatima, Portugal, disclosing three secrets to the eldest, Lucia, who shared the first two secrets soon after their revelation but left the last to be disclosed upon her death. This third secret was released to Pope John XXIII in 1960 and made public by Pope John Paul II in 2000... or was it? The novel's stolid protagonist—Msgr. Colin Michener, longtime secretary to Clement XV, the novel's near-future successor to John Paul II—has reason to doubt the accuracy of the public version of the secret. Beleaguered by radically dogmatic cardinals and bishops, the embattled Clement XV also appears distressed by recent knowledge of secret documents regarding the Fatima messages. Before his inexplicable suicide, Clement sends Michener to Romania in search of a Father Tibor, who translated the third secret for Pope John XXIII and may hold the key to its mystery. Also on the case, if a step behind, is the ambitious and traditionalist Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Valendrea, with an eye on the papal throne. Da Vinci Code fans hungry for more may want a taste of this. Agent, Pam Ahearn. 10-city author tour. (June)
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Berry, fresh off his success with The Romanov Prophecy (2004), turns to secrets of the Catholic Church. Set primarily in present-day Vatican City (with a dramatic side trip to Medjugorje), the story has as its hero Father Colin Michener, favored aide to Clement XV, a caretaker pope. Waiting impatiently for Clement's job is Cardinal Alberto Valendrea, a traditionalist who, like Clement, knows there is an explosive secret about the Fatima prophecies that is yet to be disclosed. Conspiracies and plots abound as Valendrea's hunger for the papacy and his fanatical desire to suppress the secret lead to murder. All the while, Michener must try to figure out what God wants of him--and then decide if he's able to do it. Berry handles his thriller tradecraft skillfully, his descriptions are stellar, and of special interest, he offers a vivid re-creation of the majestic conclave, in which the College of Cardinals elects a new pope. Characterizations, however, are not quite as strong; Michener's former girlfriend is particularly ill-defined. But the story is its own reward. The contents of the explosive prophecy prove suitably shocking, if unlikely, and the surprising ending keeps the tension intense until the last pages. Readers won't be disappointed. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Another very good Steve Berry book. The author always seems to have a little bit more information than what I originally knew. Well done.Published 9 days ago by dancer
This book is pushing for a change in the Catholic teachings about contraceptives, celibacy, pre-marital sex etc. Couldn't be bothered reading it after a couple of chaptersPublished 2 months ago by Diane
I love this author. I rate it five stars because it is so well written and documented, Being raised in the catholic faith in the 1940's, 1950's, I am well aware of the Fatima... Read morePublished on Dec 11 2012 by Huguette Bouchard
DaVinci Code type book. Hard to put down just the same. I would question some of the facts. Very entertaining.Published on Nov. 28 2008 by Jean-francois Brunet
I didn't even finish the book. It was so negative, so perversely anti-catholic, so full of hate, it's basically unreadable. Read morePublished on July 28 2008 by John K. Sullivan