Author: Sam Cabot (pseudonym for S.J. Rozan & Carlos Dews)
Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery
Type: Book 1
Publisher: Blue Rider Press (Penguin)
Publishing Date: August 6, 2013
Father Thomas Kelly has been called to the Vatican. A Cardinal’s desperate plea: find a missing document that contains a secret so shocking it could shatter the Church. Livia Pietro, in Rome, has been called before the Noantri Conclave. Her mission: join the Jesuit priest on his search—because one misstep could destroy her people as well.
As Thomas and Livia are thrown into a treacherous whirlwind of art, religion, and age-old secrets, they find themselves pursued by enemies who will do anything to stop them. Only the Conclave knows the true gravity of the document’s revelations. The Noantri—Livia and her people—are vampires. And the unimaginable secrets of their past are far too dangerous for man to ever know. (Source)
It took me a bit of time to get through this book. Not necessarily because it was uninteresting, but because my life became so busy. I’ve been working on this and “Neverwhere” by Neil Gaiman for the better part of the last 3 months.
I first stumbled upon this book’s sequel at work and I thought the cover looked fascinating. I had to give this series a try.
Acceptance of those who are different from us is the main theme. Thomas Kelly (protagonist) is both a historian and a priest. He immersed himself in the church and accepted things as they were. There was only one time in his history where he questioned his faith, but he overcame that obstacle.
I’m not a religious person, but I’ve spent quite a bit of time studying religions (particularly Catholicism) because of my past. I went to a Baptist school from when I was 2 through eight grade, then I graduated from a Catholic high school before switching to a public university. Needless to say, I’ve had a lot of experience with religion. That combined with my love of art history and supernatural creatures made this an intriguing read for me.
It reminds me of “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown in a big way. Major secret that will destroy the church. Check. Art history and architectural references. Check. Male and Female protagonist that may have some mutual attraction. Check. Crazy villains determined to reveal the secret. Check.
The thing that makes it different is the fact that it focuses on the idea of acceptance. Kelly goes through major growth throughout this book. He wars with himself as he attempts to deal with the new world he’s been introduced to. Also, the vampires in this book are different from the ones we’re used to. Yes, their senses are heightened, but they don’t turn into bats or explode in the sun. They attribute their differences to a microbe, which I found was an interesting take that I happened to enjoy.
It was fairly fast pace with the characters running from location to location while the authorities and the villains try to figure out their next move. Those particular scenes weren’t very interesting and almost seemed pointless. Maybe more interaction of the various groups would’ve made it a little better.
Overall, it was wasn’t a bad book, but it seemed too much like “The Da Vinci Code.” I’d say give it a try if you’re interested in the mixture of religion, art history, supernatural, and mystery.
Thanks for reading,