The Secret Cardinal
Vanguard, Sep 28 2007, $24.95
Nolan Kilkenny still mourns the loss of his wife Kelsey and their son Toby, but his father and close family friend the Cardinal Librarian of the Holy Roman Church Malachy Donaher arrange for him to modernize information flow. Kilkenny assumes the real mission is not to make more efficient and effective the link between the Vatican Library and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, but as an excuse to get him out of his home in Ann Arbor: it worked as he is in the Vatican.
However, dying Pope Leo XIV wants to use Kilkenny’s other skills honed by his years as a US Navy SEAL as the Pontiff informs him that an atrocity has occurred in China against the outlawed underground church. Kilkenny doubts the veracity of the report as he figures if several hundred have been killed or just jailed, it would have made the TWISTED WEB of the Internet in QUANTUM time. However, he agrees to help bring to the Vatican the incarcerated Bishop of Shanghai Yin Daoming, who has spent three decades in prison for failing to denounce the Church; and who the Pope made a Cardinal twenty years ago in secret. Kilkenny begins an over the top plan using state of the art weapon and computer technology to perform the impossible mission. Competent Chinese Ministry of State Security intelligence agent Liu Shing-Li plans to prevent Kilkenny’s dirty dozen from succeeding.
Kilkenny’s latest escapade is a fabulous thriller that rotates the mission with the Vatican preparing for the papal succession that appears imminent. The key to the exciting story line is the formidable opponent as Liu is an intelligent capable adversary who has a strong team supporting him. Although the Vatican segue is well written and fascinating, those fans who prefer a thrill a page will find the interlude slowing down this suspense filled action-packed tale as Kilkenny is a BIRD OF PREY.