Friday, July 17, 2009
THE THIRD SECRET - REVIEW
This book shares the same title as a Steve Berry thriller of 2006 and also concerns the Third Secret of Fatima. There the similarity ends, however. Spanning the period 1941 to 1970, this sixth book by Michael Parker is a relentless page-turning adventure that should appeal to fans of Frederick Forsyth.
It opens in the Vatican in 1941 and a Cardinal is substituting an important document in the Secret Archives. He is fearful for the original’s safety, as it, together with Vatican gold, was being shipped abroad before either the Nazis or the Russians might plunder Rome. While passing through Chad, the secret Italian convoy transporting the Vatican gold is attacked by British troops led by Captain Miles Roselli. The transport truck is hidden away…
Some 22 years later, one of the Vatican gold ingots is located and the hunt is on to find the hiding place. In truth, the document is more valuable than the gold, as if it is revealed to the world as a fake it could discredit the Roman Catholic Church. Those involved in the search are Roselli, the Vatican’s special agent Cellini, the Mafia family Galliano, a French Foreign Legion commandant and Roselli’s children Angelina and Bruno.
Until her stepbrother arrived on the scene, Angelina’s life had been pretty ordinary. Once she decided to take the chance ‘to change from a kind of quiescence that characterized her life into something that promised the unknown’, she found herself fighting for dear life in dark wet caves and dodging bullets.
Parker has peppered the story with telling description, notably of the inhospitable mountains, and nuggets of information whether about bullion dealing or the Vatican Institute for Religious Works. Also, there are plenty of great phrases, for example: ‘… once he stopped trying, he would start dying.’ Another: ‘… began to think of other things rather than the footprints of a memory that he didn’t know he possessed.’
If you like your adventure tales with pace, intriguing characters, believable heroes and exotic locations, then this is definitely for you.
The book has one of the best covers I’ve seen in a long while; interestingly, the latest Dan Brown thriller, The Lost Symbol also features the papal seal, though Hale’s cover was out first.
A version of this review can be seen at following blog:
Friday's forgotten books is a regular (weekly!) feature. I was asked for a review so used this one. Not that Mick’s book will be forgotten, ever. By the way, my wife Jennifer has also read The Third Secret - she kept turning the pages and really enjoyed it.