Search ENP

Powered by Blogger.


Social Connect

Get it on Google Play

Upcoming Events

February, 2016:

Friday, February 20

ART247 Black and White Exhibition

March, 2016:

Advertise Your Event on ENP!
More info here

Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Despite all the negative press received by The DaVinci Code when it first came out, I loved that book. Part of the enjoyment was the realization that it was all for entertainment. After reading that book, I looked for similar titles that asked a “what if” question behind some major events in history. That’s how The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell ended up on the reading shelf and being reviewed here today.

At first glance, seems to be in exactly the same vein as Dan Brown’s religious thriller. However, once you get past the cover summary, you are in for an entirely different ride. While this is still a thriller, it doubles as dark mystery between brothers, priests, and the Catholic world.

Father Alex Andreou is summoned by his brother, Father Simon Andreou,  to the scene of a colleague's death. The dead man, Father Ugo Nogara, and the Andreou brothers had worked together on a project to trace to provenance of the Shroud of Turin. This linen shroud is believed to bear the image of Jesus after his death on the cross. Although modern tests date the relic to the 13th century, a great deal of mystery surrounds it.

This story takes place in the waning days of the papacy of Pope John Paul II. It tells a tale of the Pope attempting to heal the wounds between the Western and Eastern churches as a lasting legacy to his pontificate. The provenance of the Turin Shroud and the murdered researcher are intimately entangled with this endeavor.

Father Alex rushes to uncover the mysteries behind Nogara’s alleged murder as his brother disappears into hiding as the primary suspect in the crime. Locked away from the exhibit, he must retrace the steps taken by Nogara to build it. The answer must be somewhere in the notes or displays.

A little-known gospel, the Diatessaron, must be compared against the four known gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The Diatessaron combines all the stories of the four gospels into a single narrative. Unfortunately, there are powers in the Vatican who do not want the truth to be revealed. People who Alex has trusted all his life suddenly avoid him, or attempt to steer him away from the answers he is looking for.

There are a lot of similarities to The DaVinci Code. However, Ian Caldwell has eschewed the elusive Robert Langdon and instead developed a common preacher who most people can relate to. Father Alex loves his son. He even loves his estranged wife. Most of all he loves his brother and the Church he has spent his life serving.

Caldwell spent a decade researching and writing this novel after his successful debut, The Rule of Four. This hard work shines brightly in this new work. He showcases the political games played behind the Vatican walls and plays his main character off the opposing forces. Father Alex Andreou is a sympathetic character who you end up pulling for at each obstacle. The reader hopes along with Alex that his family can be repaired.

This novel delivers interesting tidbits about the history of the Catholic Church, centering mostly on the schism between the Western and Orthodox factions. Obviously, there is some poetic license with regards to Pope John Paul’s actions in this book. However, all the scenarios portrayed here are written to be quite believable.

I quite enjoyed this book. I like the mystery of church relics and its hidden history, even if it’s not all full of truth. The Fifth Gospel is great entertainment. Ian Caldwell took a great deal of time to weave an exciting and engaging tale. It’s only fair that we take some time to read a book that has so much blood, sweat, and tears invested.

+Craig Bacon wants to know if this is the church and this is the steeple, where are all the people? Follow his irreverent ramblings on Twitter at @hippieboy73.

Get breaking news delivered. 
with the ENP Mobile app for Android. 


Post a Comment

Comments are always appreciated. Your comment will be reviewed for approval before being made public.