Dutton, Aug 2007, $25.95, 448 pp.
In 1749 Naples at the height of the inquisition, the Prince of San Severo wants the knowledge that his prisoner has. During the fight, the prisoner escapes with the irate Prince in pursuit searching in various countries under various names for something that will change the world.
In 2003, in Al-Hillah in Iraq archeologist Evelyn Bishop finds a series of underground tunnel chambers and in one of them an ancient codex. On one cell wall is the Ouroboros, the snake that eats it self. She met and fell in love with Tom Webster and together they discovered it was a sanctuary for the Brethren of Purity. In 2006 in Lebanon, Farouk who worked with Evelyn in 2003 has the codex and wants to sell it to her so he can leave the country. Evelyn is kidnapped by someone who wants the codex; her daughter Mia with CIA agent Jim Corbrn tries to rescue her mother. The kidnapper wants the book at any price and the seller has them in a secure place. This mission is personnel because the sadistic scientist experimented with Hussein's approval on men, women, and children in a horrible way to find something everyone wants to get their hands on, something that if let loose could change the world forever.
Raymond Khoury follows up his best seller THE LAST TEMPLAR with another exciting and exhilarating thriller THE SANCTUARY. There are several groups and individuals who want the formulae found in the codex and what makes this tale so fascinating is that readers are never sure, with the exception of Evelyn and Mia who the heroes and the villains are. This is an action oriented story but Mr. Khoury develops his characters so readers can either empathize with them or despise them.