The Third Secret: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – Nov 27 2007
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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.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
The subject matter is similar as both books are thillers that deal with the Catholic faith and present theories or "What If" scenarios that are both intriguing and scandalous as they challenge the very foundation on which the church was built.
Vatican secrets and corruption abound in both cases as a world is exposed to which few are privy. Throw in some action and romance for good measure and you have the recipe for page-turning thriller.
The difference that Steve Berry's book provides is better writing and character development. The story doesn't come out of the gate with as much fervour or pace as a Brown offering, instead, the trade-off is a stronger story and a more fullfilling payoff in the end.
The third secret itself is kind of predictable and some would say anticlimactic, but I would suggest that the secret isn't the payoff in the end, but the repercussions, consequence and the "what happens next?" is infinitely more fullfilling.
I will definitely seek out and read another book by this author.
Most recent customer reviews
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 12 months 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 15 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