Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Third Revelation - Ralph McInerny

The Third Revelation
The Rosary Chronicles
Ralph McInerny


Say what you will about the Vatican; one area in which it excels is in covering up unpleasantness. So, when an intruder murders three priests and a guard, the powers that be take steps to make sure that knowledge never becomes public. The funerals take place over a period of time, with the deaths attributed to various other (non-murderous) causes. This general air of power and secrecy explains why so many people believe that the Vatican never released the revelations of Our Lady Of Fatima in their entirety.

In 1917, the Blessed Virgin appeared to three peasant children in Fatima and spoke to them. The third ‘secret’ was withheld from the public due to its possible sensational nature until the year 2000, when then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote an accompanying commentary. But there are those, inside the Church and out, that believe the Church is still withholding critical information; hiding it in the Vatican Archives.

After the murders, former CIA agent Vincent Traeger is pressed into service again. When he was an operative, he worked mainly in Rome, so he knows the area and the players. He doesn’t take long to realize that the murders all tie back to Fatima and the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II. Traeger goes looking for the records and finds nothing. Unknown to him, there is a secret group working within the Church for its own purposes.

This is the first book in the “Rosary Chronicles.” It’s a very intricately plotted novel. The various strands include the Church personnel, laypeople, foreign nationals, and a billionaire software designer whose current obsession is obtaining artworks depicting the joyful mysteries of the rosary. The author is a scholar of Church doctrine, and it shows in the deep background and labyrinthine dealings he depicts. Non-Catholic readers may not enjoy the book on as many levels, not having the same kind of background, but I found that everything was explained in a way that anyone could understand.

I haven’t read the author’s Father Dowling mysteries, so I can’t compare the two, but THE THIRD REVELATION is a deep book with a dark tone. There’s plenty of intrigue, inside and outside the Church; and the various characters are all believably flawed in various ways. The underlying message of human frailty and imperfection comes through loud and clear. Readers who enjoy religious thrillers will love this novel. Those who aren’t necessarily interested in the religion itself will still find a great story that moves quickly. There’s clearly more to be told, and I’ll look forward to the next novel.

Rating: 7 ½
March 2009
ISBN# 978-0-515-14592-2 (paperback)


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