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The Third Secret: A Novel of Suspenseby Steve Berry
Synopses & Reviews
Explosive in both its pace and its revelations, The Third Secret is a remarkable international thriller. Bestselling author Steve Berry tackles some of the most controversial ideas of our time in a breakneck journey through the history of the Church and the future of religion.
Fatima, Portugal, 1917: The Virgin Mary appears to three peasant children, sharing with them three secrets, two of which are soon revealed to the world. The third secret is sealed away in the Vatican, read only by popes, and not disclosed until the year 2000. When revealed, its quizzical tone and anticlimactic nature leave many faithful wondering if the Church has truly unveiled all of the Virgin Mary's words — or if a message far more important has been left in the shadows.
Vatican City, present day: Papal secretary Father Colin Michener is concerned for the Pope. Night after restless night, Pope Clement XV enters the Vatican's Riserva, the special archive open only to popes, where the Church's most clandestine and controversial documents are stored. Though unsure of the details, Michener knows that the Pope's distress stems from the revelations of Fatima.
Equally concerned, but not out of any sense of compassion, is Alberto Cardinal Valendrea, the Vatican's Secretary of State. Valendrea desperately covets the papacy, having narrowly lost out to Clement at the last conclave. Now the Pope's interest in Fatima threatens to uncover a shocking ancient truth that Valendrea has kept to himself for many years.
When Pope Clement sends Michener to the Romanian highlands, then to a Bosnian holy site, in search of a priest — possibly one of the last people on Earth who knows Mary's true message — a perilous set of events unfolds. Michener finds himself embroiled in murder, suspicion, suicide, deceit, and his forbidden passion for a beloved woman. In a desperate search for answers, he travels to Pope Clement's birthplace in Germany, where he learns that the third secret of Fatima may dictate the very fate of the Church — a fate now lying in Michener's own hands.
"Visions of the Virgin Mary, secret documents and politicking in the highest echelons of the Catholic Church — Berry (The Amber Room) combines combustive elements in this well-researched thriller. In 1917, the Virgin Mary revealed herself to three children in Fatima, Portugal, disclosing three secrets to the eldest, Lucia, who shared the first two secrets soon after their revelation but left the last to be disclosed upon her death. This third secret was released to Pope John XXIII in 1960 and made public by Pope John Paul II in 2000...or was it? The novel's stolid protagonist — Msgr. Colin Michener, longtime secretary to Clement XV, the novel's near-future successor to John Paul II — has reason to doubt the accuracy of the public version of the secret. Beleaguered by radically dogmatic cardinals and bishops, the embattled Clement XV also appears distressed by recent knowledge of secret documents regarding the Fatima messages. Before his inexplicable suicide, Clement sends Michener to Romania in search of a Father Tibor, who translated the third secret for Pope John XXIII and may hold the key to its mystery. Also on the case, if a step behind, is the ambitious and traditionalist Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Valendrea, with an eye on the papal throne. Da Vinci Code fans hungry for more may want a taste of this. Agent, Pam Ahearn. 10-city author tour. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The contents of the explosive prophecy prove suitably shocking...and the surprising ending keeps the tension intense until the last pages. Readers won't be disappointed." Booklist
"Berry leaves Russia, site of his first two fiction successes (e.g., The Amber Room), for a tale of papal machinations involving a secret the Virgin Mary reputedly imparted in 1917." Library Journal
"Berry sometimes overforeshadows his revelations, but he serves tantalizingly true tidbits about the Church, and his measured, elegant prose is a solid fit with the story." Kirkus Reviews
"The thing to remember is that The Third Secret is a story, a work of fiction, and does not pretend to be anything more, or less. It also is excitingly and brilliantly told, and a terrific read....[A] complex, exciting work that is almost impossible to put down." BookReporter.com
"[A]n inferior attempt to capitalize on the success of The Da Vinci Code. While Berry creates a good premise for a thriller, The Third Secret never sustains the momentum needed to keep readers turning its pages." Dallas-Ft. Worth Star Telegram
From the bestselling author of The Amber Room and The Romanov Prophecy comes a brilliant and provocative novel of international suspense that explores one of history's most intriguing mysteries — the secret of Fatima.
About the Author
Steve Berry lives on the Georgia coast with his wife and daughter. He is a lawyer who has traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, Europe, and Russia. His first two novels, The Amber Room and The Romanov Prophecy, were national bestsellers and have been translated into ten languages. His most recent novel is The Templar Legacy.
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