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This fourth thriller (after The Ninth Buddha) by a pseudonymous British author confirms his rising reputation as a literary writer of well-researched espionage tales.
In 1968 in Jerusalem, a tomb is discovered that contains the bones of Jesus, his "brother" James, and their mother, Mary. At the same time, at Trinity College in Dublin, young American student Patrick Canavan falls in love with Francesca Contarini, who wears a strange cross around her neck. Twenty-four years later, Francesca has apparently drowned, and Canavan, now ex-CIA, has returned to Dublin to try to recapture his youthful peace of mind. But events from the past impinge on the present: just after Canavan realizes he is being watched by a sinister man with a strange tattoo, he discovers an old priest with his eyes gouged out. Then children are murdered and their hearts ripped from their bodies, and KGB agents have their heads shaved and covered with plastic bags.
Teaming up with an Ethiopian priest, Canavan must decipher Hebrew, Greek, and Italian texts to detect the apparent reemergence of the secret Brotherhood, a twelfth century right-wing sect. Is the cult, founded on the teachings of James, out to seize the papacy, spread the word that Christ did not die on the cross, and reinitiate human sacrifice? And is Francesca actually dead? Easterman connects the threads of his complex narrative with riveting suspense: almost every chapter ends with a cerebral cliff-hanger guaranteed to speed readers on to the next page.