The First Apostle
Signet, Mar 2009, $7.99
Englishwoman Jackie Hampton remains behind in Italy due a change in a builders’ schedule while her spouse Mark is in London on business. Two men Alberti and Rogan assume the Hampton house is empty, but see Jackie and break her neck. They next chisel away at the plaster above the fireplace until the next layer is exposed displaying an inscription carved into it. They use a digital camera to take pictures before they replaster the wall and leave.
Mark receives the gruesome call. He and his best friend English policeman Chris Bronson travel to Italy. Officially her death is ruled an accident, but Chris sees evidence of a break-in. As he looks around what he believes is a crime scene, he notices the fresh plaster over the fireplace seems out of place in spite of renovation all over the house as this section is isolated from the work done and looks incomplete. He finds the concealed ancient Latin inscription “Hic Vanidici Latitant”. As the Church leaders fear the impact of the find, Chris asks his former wife antiques expert Angela for help with the translation, which he learns is “Here Lie the Liars.” To decipher the connotation of the message, the couple follows clues across Europe while hunters try to kill them; collateral damage of the innocent is an acceptable practice by the Vatican as the truth will shake their foundation.
This is an exciting Brownian thriller based (see the Author’s Notes) on “historical evidence that St. Paul was an agent of Rome.” The story line, built from that premise and much more, is fast-paced and filled with non stop action as the lead couple uncovers a conspiracy that makes Da Vinci’s look minor. Although the market is flooded with these types of thrillers and the exomologesis villains seem pathetic, fans will enjoy THE FIRST APOSTLE as Mr. Becker uses historical hypothesis and facts to enhance his electrifying Church conspiracy tale.