The Pope's Assassin
Luis M. Rocha
Putnam, Mar 31 2011, $25.95
Like all the Popes before him in the past half a center, Pope Benedict XVI is given a top secret document to read. As the Pope reads, he becomes ill with worry. Five decades ago, Israeli archeologist Ben Isaac and the Status Quo team found the Dead Sea Scrolls, which included the Gospel of Jesus that if revealed would devastate the flock. Twice, twenty-five year agreements have been signed, but this year a third pact has not been renewed as rumors fly that the Scrolls are a hoax to conceal the truth.
Jesuits kidnap the son of Ben to demand he hand over the gospel and the bones of Jesus to them. At the same time, someone is assassinating the survivors of the Status Quo. London-based reporter Sarah Monteiro gets caught in the middle of a Christian power grab. Her beloved Vatican secret agent Father Rafael Santini is unsure where she fits in, but tries to keep her safe.
Loaded with action and an impressive body count (Hell is a growth industry), die hard fans of the Da Vinci Code will enjoy this derivative. The story line is fast-paced, but is too much a copy cat of the Brownian saga though much more graphic as if The Andalusian Dog (of Dali-Brunel) met Dan Brown. Still this is an exhilarating action-packed thriller as Sarah and Father Rafael are caught in the middle of a potential shattering hoax.