From Publishers Weekly
At the start of Martin and Carranza's Da Vinci Code
knockoff, members of a secret group known as the Corbel, who worship the Dark One, orchestrate Spanish architect Antonio Gaudí's apparently accidental death in 1926. Their purpose, carried out over centuries, is to destroy the Knights of the Moriah, who guard the greatest secret in Christianity. In 2006, 92-year-old Juan Givell, the last grand master of the Moriah, must pass his knowledge on to his attractive 26-year-old granddaughter, who will then, along with her mathematician boyfriend, take up Givell's mission to finish the Great Work. Far too often in a plot involving an ancient relic, the Templars, the Vatican, riddles, secret diaries, torture and many brutal murders, the action grinds to a halt as someone stops to deliver a lecture on a historical fact or theory. Ardent fans of Gaudí's work will best appreciate this erratic enterprise. (Aug.)
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In the tradition of The Da Vinci Code, this mix of thriller and adventure tale set in Barcelona centers on the life and work of real-life architect Antonio Gaudi (1852–1926) and his largest project, La Sagrada Familia, a Catholic church that remains unfinished. Readers who enjoy heavy doses of religious history, mysticism, and secret societies will revel in the detailed backstory, which follows the 3,000-year life of a sacred relic guarded by a secret order, the Knights of Moriah, against the Corbel, an equally secret satanic sect. Maria and her boyfriend, Miguel, both academics, are drawn into the dangerous game when Maria’s grandfather dies, leaving her to find the hidden relic and fulfill the prophecy. The realistic characters and the intriguing combination of religion and architecture will draw readers, but the uneven pace may deter them. The first two-thirds of the novel is very slow—nearly brought to a standstill by lengthy flashbacks—but the last third abruptly kicks into overdrive, as the body count grows and frenzied action dominates. This narrative schizophrenia is disconcerting, but Da Vinci Code fans are used to bipolar pacing. --Jessica Moyer