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Cradle and All Hardcover – May 22, 2000

2.8 out of 5 stars 513 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

James Patterson's Cradle and All pits the intensity of faith against the certainties of science within an arena of Millennial tensions. A reworking of his 1980 apocalyptic thriller Virgin, this remodeled version boasts a genuinely unnerving premise, amplified with Patterson's fast-paced, uncluttered prose.

In the midst of a series of unexplained plagues and famines, two teenage girls are heavily pregnant, despite being virgins. According to the sacred prophecies of Fatima, one will bear the child of Christ and the other, the spawn of Satan. Both Anne Fitzgerald, a former nun turned private detective, and the Vatican's Father Rosetti are sent to investigate. But which girl carries which child? The possibility of a miracle will be tainted with great suffering before the awful, unexpected truth is revealed. As the action moves speedily from the hallowed halls of the Vatican to the media frenzy of America to the small-town hysteria of Ireland, Patterson divines considerable suspense from the novel's central premise, tackling issues of faith with admirable aplomb:

"All over the world, after all the years of difficulty, decades of diminishing spirituality, so many people still believed.... Everywhere, people talked of the Apocalypse, perhaps the end of the world. Which explained why so many people were suddenly going to church."

A relentless pace culminating in a superbly twisted ending won't disappoint Patterson's faithful followers, and may even convert some new members. --Danny Graydon

From Publishers Weekly

His Alex Cross series (Pop Goes the Weasel, etc.) has made Patterson a top-selling author, but his most interesting work lies elsewhere: in his debut mystery, The Thomas Berryman Number; in last year's SF thriller, When the Wind Blows--and in this exciting and moving religious thriller about two pregnant virgins, one of whom may carry the Son of God and the other the Son of the Devil. If that plot line sounds familiar, it should. The novel is a reworking of Virgin, Patterson's second novel, published in 1980 by McGraw-Hill and long out of print. The narrative features the first-person/third-person narrative mix that's Patterson's trademark. The "I" belongs to ex-nun Anne Fitzgerald, now a PI. Her latest case for the Church involves investigating--and guarding--Newport, R.I. (i.e., rich), teenager Kathleen Beavier, who's eight months pregnant but, by expert medical testimony, a virgin. The Church is particularly anxious about Kathleen's condition because the Third Secret of Fatima (a real-life secret guarded by the Church since the Virgin Mary allegedly revealed it in 1917) prophesied two pregnant virgins: one bearing the Savior, the other the Devil's child. Anne eventually learns that indeed there's a poor girl in Ireland who's also pregnant, yet a virgin. Which girl carries which child? For texture, Patterson throws in some romance between Anne and a priest, but the novel's considerable suspense arises from his treatment of the central question as he speeds the action from America to Ireland to the Vatican, complicates it with a media frenzy over Kathleen, sharpens it as supernatural forces come into play and spins it with a wicked twist. While not subtle, this novel tackles issues of faith with admirable gusto. It could be a massive bestseller, appealing not only to Patterson's fans but also to those of the apocalyptic thrillers of LaHaye and Jenkins. 1 million first printing; $1 million ad/promo; Literary Guild main selection; author tour. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company; 1st edition (May 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316690619
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316690614
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (513 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #881,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Patterson received the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community at the 2015 National Book Awards. His other awards include two Emmys, the Edgar Award, and the Children's Choice Award for Author of the Year. He is a tireless champion of the power of books and reading, exemplified by his new children's book imprint, JIMMY Patterson, whose mission is simple: "We want every kid who finishes a JIMMY Book to say: 'PLEASE GIVE ME ANOTHER BOOK.'" He has donated more than one million books to students and soldiers and has over four hundred Teacher Education Scholarships at 24 colleges and universities. He has also donated millions to independent bookstores and school libraries. Patterson will be investing proceeds from the sales of JIMMY Patterson Books in pro-reading initiatives.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've been hooked on James Patterson since I read KISS THE GIRLS. He typically does a wonderful job with character development and suspense. CRADLE has all of the Patterson elements: notoriously short chapters, quickly defined characters, alternating first and third person narration. All in all this is a decent read.

The storyline revolves around the question of how the world would react to the news of a modern-day immaculate conception. Anne Fitzgerald is called in by the Archdiocese to provide an objective investigation into a reported virgin pregnancy. She walks in expecting an easy assignment and instead ends up testing her own faith. Along the way, we're introduced to Nicholas Rosetti, a strong priest sent in to unravel the mystery of two young women claiming to be virgins despite their pregnancies. He believes one will bear the saviour of man, the other will bear the child of satan. The story moves rather slowly through most of the book; it focuses on outlining the media frenzy building around one of the virgins as well as the scapegoating endured by the other virgin. The last quarter of the book builds to a quick climax with an ending that makes the reading worthwhile. It also leaves the question: when is the sequel? Overall, I enjoyed the book. It's a very quick, easy read (at just over 300 pages, I polished this off in a few hours), it addresses some rather heavy spiritual issues, but it delivers a story without being "preachy". I wouldn't qualify this as one of Patterson's best works; it's more like "Patterson-Lite". The novel exemplifies his earlier abilities, but overall, I enjoyed it.
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Format: Hardcover
As you may or may not know, Cradle And All is a rework of Patterson's 2nd novel called Virgin. Most likely if you read Virgin within the past few years and remember the ending you probably won't want to read Cradle And All -- even though there are differences between the two versions. But if you haven't read Virgin or read it like I did(when it first came out in 1980)and don't remember the outcome, you're in for a real treat. After reading an advance reader copy of Cradle And All, I'm sure that most Patterson fans will find many of the qualities that have made them devour his previous books. In typical Patterson fashion the plot moves along at a break-neck pace, the chapters are very brief with each ending on a note that makes you want to quickly turn the page, and the characters--while not developed in great depth--are interesting. While I'm not a particularly fast reader, I read this book in two days. Be prepared to be glued to your favorite reading place until you finish Cradle And All! You'll definitely enjoy this book.
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Format: Audio Cassette
Hearing the title of James Patterson's latest release, "Cradle and All", I expected the story of a missing infant, distraught parents, family secrets and an eventual tearful reunion. I was unprepared for the deception of the benign title; it belies a literal tale of apocalyptic proportions, mixing biblical prophecy, Virgin births, priests and nuns, the Vatican and holy miracles with enough world-wide plague and pestilence to create the ultimate battle of good against evil.
Annie, a former nun turned private investigator, is content with her present limited involvement with the Church, consisting of occasional investigations of sensitive matters. In the midst of an outbreak of "new polio", she is summoned by her old friend, a Cardinal, to handle a secretive and potentially dangerous crisis; she is told little more than it involves a pregnant teenager named Kathleen, who lives in Massachusetts and claims to be a virgin. Meeting and befriending Kathleen is a journey of faith and conscience for Annie, who must venture beyond her own skepticism, particularly when she learns of a second pregnant teen in Ireland, Colleen, who is also believed to be a virgin. Only then does Annie learn the magnitude of her assignment: to investigate whether the prophecy foretold by the Virgin Mother in Fatima in 1917 - that the child of God and the child of Satan would each be born to virgins - is becoming a present-day reality and whether the potential of such an event is behind the crises of sickness, famine and drought suddenly sweeping the earth. The resolution to this mystery shocks Annie (much as it does those of us following her pilgrimage), changes the course of her life and defines its purpose.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read most of James Patterson's work and consider him a "popcorn" novelist. Nothing fancy, but usually satisfying. Unlike other reviewers, I like his short (2-3 pages) chapter approach to writing as I think it keeps things moving along pretty well.
But Cradle and All just didn't do it for me. I tried, I really tried, but I finally had to give up at about 150 pages. I think the religious and apocolyptic angle just doesn't jibe with his usual style of murder mysteries. Plus, the nun-turned-detective just wasn't believeable enough to pull this one off.
This book was a re-write of a book Patterson wrote 20 years ago and reissued to cash in on his popularity. Something tells me that this and The Season of the Machete, another old Patterson book that was just awful, should have stayed in obscurity.
Patterson is best when he gets into his characters. The Alex Cross books are highly entertaining and the first in the four San Francisco women series (1st to Die) was very promising. My suggestion is for a new reading to read the series books and avoid most of the rest.
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