D. L. Wilson
Berkley, 2007 (2007)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
ike Dan Brown's
Da Vinci Code
, D. L. Wilson's
features a secret society (
) connected with the Catholic Church, a ruthless assassin, a man and a woman brought together by research and violence, plenty of action, and questions about long-held Christian beliefs - and about the bloodline of Jesus Christ. But the reader will find very significant differences as well.
he novel stars a Jesuit priest, Father Joseph Romano, who has long held doubts about his dedication to the priesthood though not about his faith. Romano is assisted in his research by two young - and very competent - graduate students, Charlie and Carlota. As the story opens, Romano receives a mysterious call to a meeting at Grand Central Terminal, where he's promised a box '
containing original parchment written by the hand of Jesus' brother, James. It describes in detail what really happened at the Crucifixion.
' Of course he goes.
n parallel we see an assassin, Gabriel, as he sets about the murders of a succession of Jesuit priests - who have links to Romano, and who were visited before their deaths by Brittany Hamar, a professor with a tragic past, now working on a controversial book entitled
The Jesus Fraud
(and who has received information from a mysterious
). Gabriel considers himself '
the chosen one ... the one to return Christianity to its original state of innocence.
omano goes to the meeting place and, after witnessing the shooting of a lovely blonde woman in the shoulder, has a box thrust upon him - but it contains a gun, not a manuscript. The police, FBI, and Interpol are soon involved. Romano meets Brittany and - though they have to agree to disagree on their beliefs about the Church - they set off on an investigation together, first to Vienna and then to a small French village high in the Pyrénées. Violence and murder follow close behind them.
is a good read, one of the better spin-offs from the popularity of Dan Brown's novel. It ends with an explosion of action, followed by Wilson's tying off his plot's various loose ends in tidy - and satisfying - knots.
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