Top critical review
Smart, suspenseful thriller that is more than mind candy
on May 20, 2002
Generally speaking, readers are forced to choose between intelligent, character-driven, quality literature and dumbed-down, mindless, plot-driven fiction.
Arturo Perez-Reverte is one of the few writers who finds a happy medium between the two. Yes, his books center around an exciting plot, move at a healthy pace, and leave little time for the reader to think about character development or artistic merit. And yet, his books are more than just mind candy. They are smart, suspenseful thrillers that will leave you feeling at least satisfied if not wholesomely enriched. The Seville Communion is no exception.
Set in modern-day Seville, this is the story of Father Lorenzo Quart, sent by the investigative arm of the Vatican's foreign affairs ministry to investigate two mysterious deaths in an old, neglected church that local banking executives want abolished, so the land can be used for more lucrative development purposes. A feisty old priest and a local aristocratic woman lead the efforts to keep the church alive. And an anonymous computer hacker is breaking into the Pope's personal computer system to deposit messages warning the Holy See that this old church will do what it must to protect itself and ensure its survival. Perez-Reverte creates a cast of colorful characters - Quart, the ruggedly attractive priest whose vow of chastity never seems to be his top priority, Macarena, the elegant aristocrat who always seems to be seducing him, and many more. Set against the backdrop of Seville, a city filled with old world charm and beauty, this novel has the feel of a period piece even though it is set in modern day, complete with cell phones and computer hackers.
Though The Fencing Master, in my opinion, is his best work, The Seville Communion is an excellent read, an exciting whodunit for intelligent readers.