Sunday 4 December 2016

Review: The Second Messiah by Glen Meade

Arrow, £6.99

Published 06/08/2011 | 05:00

At the end of a long papal election, a compromise candidate, charismatic American cardinal John Beckett, becomes the new pope. In the spirit of transparency and humility, he immediately vows to throw open the Vatican's secret archives and sell off its worldly treasures.

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At the same time, in Qumran near the Dead Sea in Israel, archeologist Jack Clay makes the discovery of his career, a 2,000-year-old parchment buried in a cave.

The ancient parchment, which is immediately and bloodily stolen, contains a message that threatens to destroy the very foundations of Christianity and the new pope's reputation.

The scroll's theft is the trigger for a wildly energetic if deeply improbable Indiana Jones-style romp that ranges from Syria to Rome as Jack Clay, pursued by varied security forces and homicidal Palestinians, attempts to retrieve his invaluable discovery and find out who killed his archeologist parents in Qumran 20 years before.

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