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The Last Cato    by Matilde Asensi order for
Last Cato
by Matilde Asensi
Order:  USA  Can
Rayo, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Enter the fascinating fictional world of The Last Cato and join Dr. (Sister) Ottavia Salina as she begins one of the most interesting and provocative adventures ever conceived.

Diverted from her regular duties as renowned paleographer and director of the Vatican's Secret Archive, a baffled Sister Ottavia is charged by Vatican officials with deciphering the cryptic tattoos on a murdered Ethiopian's body. Without at first understanding the dead man's relevance to either her professional duties or the Vatican's interests in ancient texts and artifacts, Sister Ottavia is soon completely involved in the urgent task of solving an arcane puzzle of potentially apocryphal proportions - at least as it affects the history and future of Christianity in the world - and Sister Ottavia proves that she, accompanied by an archeologist and a captain of the Vatican's famous Swiss Guard, is thoroughly prepared for the challenge.

Sister Ottavia and her companions move resolutely toward their mysterious goal in spite of the potential for danger that lurks at every corner. And Sister Ottavia (and the reader who will be quickly ensnared in this fascinating mystery) also has an indispensable and surprising clue: The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.

Matilde Asensi, author of The Last Cato, has written a powerful and provocative novel that bursts at its binding with fascinating, erudite details. The plot is intricate perfection, the characterizations are complex and compelling, the themes are deeply important, and the lines between fiction and nonfiction are so adroitly blurred, that readers will long be entertained, intrigued, and haunted by The Last Cato.

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