Alex and his brother Simon grew up in Vatican City. Their father was a Greek Catholic rather than a Roman Catholic. His main desire was to reunite the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, and he believed that the Shroud of Turin could be instrumental in bringing that about. Now Alex is a priest in the Greek church; and Simon, a priest in the Roman church, but because of their father, the Shroud is important to both of them.
Alex has been working with Ugo, a curator in the Vatican, to mount an exhibit about the Shroud of Turin. Simon, who has been stationed in Turkey, is due back for the opening. Instead of coming to Alex's apartment as expected, Simon calls and asks Alex to meet him at Castel Gondolfo. When he arrives, Alex finds his brother soaking wet, standing beside Ugo's body. This begins a time of mystery and danger that threatens Alex's life.
This is a well researched novel. Life in Vatican City is described in illuminating detail. It gives you a taste of what it's like to live in an enclosed community. The research on the Shroud is historically accurate and forms a sound basis for the mystery.
The book is not a fast paced thriller. It relies more on character development and scholarly research. I found that fascinating, but if you're looking for lots of action, you may be disappointed. I enjoyed the book, but I did find the ending somewhat unsatisfactory. It took a long time to resolve the plot lines, and I felt the ending was forced. The buildup led me to expect a more compelling resolution.
I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.