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The Third Secret: A Novel [Paperback]

Steve Berry
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 27 2007
Explosive in both its pace and its revelations, The Third Secret is a remarkable international thriller. Bestselling author Steve Berry tackles some of the most controversial ideas of our time in a breakneck journey through the history of the Church and the future of religion.

Fatima, Portugal, 1917: The Virgin Mary appears to three peasant children, sharing with them three secrets, two of which are soon revealed to the world. The third secret is sealed away in the Vatican, read only by popes, and not disclosed until the year 2000. When revealed, its quizzical tone and anticlimactic nature leave many faithful wondering if the Church has truly unveiled all of the Virgin Mary’s words–or if a message far more important has been left in the shadows.

Vatican City, present day: Papal secretary Father Colin Michener is concerned for the Pope. Night after restless night, Pope Clement XV enters the Vatican’s Riserva, the special archive open only to popes, where the Church’s most clandestine and controversial documents are stored. Though unsure of the details, Michener knows that the Pope’s distress stems from the revelations of Fatima.

Equally concerned, but not out of any sense of compassion, is Alberto Cardinal Valendrea, the Vatican’s Secretary of State,. Valendrea desperately covets the papacy, having narrowly lost out to Clement at the last conclave. Now the Pope’s interest in Fatima threatens to uncover a shocking ancient truth that Valendrea has kept to himself for many years.

When Pope Clement sends Michener to the Romanian highlands, then to a Bosnian holy site, in search of a priest–possibly one of the last people on Earth who knows Mary’s true message–a perilous set of events unfolds. Michener finds himself embroiled in murder, suspicion, suicide, deceit, and his forbidden passion for a beloved woman. In a desperate search for answers, he travels to Pope Clement’s birthplace in Germany, where he learns that the third secret of Fatima may dictate the very fate of the Church–a fate now lying in Michener’s own hands.

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From Publishers Weekly

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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I'll pass, some might enjoy it though. Feb. 24 2006
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is rife with misconceptions about the Catholic Church and is a disappointing read for anyone with even the slightest understanding of marian apparitions. The suspense builds until finally, near the end of the book, the missing portion of the "third secret of Fatima" is revealed. The problem is that the missing portion of the secret is preposterous and unbelievable, making the climax of the book a disappointment.
I am surprised that best-selling author Steve Berry would produce a book that is so poorly researched. He has lost credibility with me and I will never read another of his books.
Beyond betraying the author's ignorance of the Catholic Church, the book was poorly edited and had many typos. At one point, the name of even one of the main characters was misspelled!
While many would find the book's suspense compelling, I thought reading it was a waste of time.
If your looking for a great religious/mystery thriller, try 'The Quest" by Giorgio Kostantinos, Dan Brown has commented on it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal. April 12 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
As a cradle Catholic this story did not shake my faith in the Church but rather reinforced my belief that there are good men within and change for the better can and will occur. The Virgin Mother has always been someone I'v always respected and have never doubted she was blessed to bring God's message to his people. Women have a role to play in the Church and as Steve Berry so eloquently wove his story of a far better Church that should and can be. A must read and a phenomenal story I wish becomes the Truth
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Third Secret = Wow!!! Dec 11 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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 story. I love the author's theory about the third secret but, without disrespect, Mr. Berry, unfortunetaly... in your dreams!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good Nov. 28 2008
Format:Paperback
DaVinci Code type book. Hard to put down just the same. I would question some of the facts. Very entertaining.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A PAGE-TURNING THRILLER... Nov. 26 2007
By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is an immensely entertaining thriller that revolves around the third secret of Fatima, as well as Vatican political intrigues, murder, and mystery. It is a fast-paced, plot driven thriller. So strong is the plot that the fact that the book is short on character development will not disturb the reader one whit. The plot will keep the reader compulsively turning the pages of this skillfully plotted book. While the book may disturb some readers, due to the depiction of some its clerical characters as power hungry and capable of murder, one should keep in mind that this is a work of fiction. Besides, priests are people, too, and, as such they are, no less than the rest of us, subject to temptation.

Central to the plot is the papal secretary, Monsignor Colin Michener, who has served the elderly Pope Clement XV for many years. They have an almost father-son relationship, and Monsignor Michener has noticed that the Pope has been acting a little strange lately, making numerous visits to the papal archives. It seems that the Pope has become obsessed with the third secret of Fatima, as he has been given some new information related to it. Consequently, he decides to send Monsignor Michener to Romania on a very special mission, as it appears that all is not what it seems.

Meanwhile, back at the Vatican, political intrigues abound, as Cardinal Valendrea, avaricious and power hungry, plots on becoming pope when Pope Clement XV goes to meet his maker. Cardinal Valendrea is extremely conservative and traditional in terms of his agenda for Catholicism. He loathes Pope Clement XV and his stance on many of the issues confronting Catholicism today. He will, therefore, resort to any means necessary to secure that which he most desires.
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