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The Third Secret: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – November 27, 2007
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Set in the near future, Secret introduces Jakob Volkner--Pope Clement XV--a German "caretaker pope" who, nearing the age of 80, was elected as John Paul II's successor. But three years into his papacy, the thoughtful Clement has begun to quietly express skepticism about papal infallibility and the Church's restrictive dogma, and to make odd requests of his longtime secretary, Monsignor Colin Michener, an Irish-born but American-reared priest whose vows of celibacy have been tested--and found wanting. Clement has also made repeated visits to a guarded sanctum within the Vatican archives, where sacred and historic documents are stored. And he's dispatched Michener to Romania to locate an elderly cleric who, in the 1950s, translated three cryptic prophecies, purportedly offered by the Virgin Mary in 1917 to a trio of children in Fatima, Portugal. Those secrets have since been fully disclosed to the world. Or have they? Thats the question facing Michener in the wake of Clement's shocking suicide, as he pursues a twisted trail of clues, crimes, and religious forecasts from Rome to Bosnia to Germany, accompanied by his former lover, journalist Katerina Lew. But making any additional secrets known to the world will put Michener in confrontation with doctrinal reactionaries, led by Cardinal Alberto Valendrea, the Vatican's Italian secretary of state, who's determined to follow Clement as the Vicar of Christ--even if that requires inventing a few new sins and flouting a 900-year-old prediction of doom for the next pope.
Attorney-author Berry, praised previously for The Amber Room and The Romanov Prophecy, enriches The Third Secret with glimpses behind the locked doors of a papal selection process and knowledge of centuries-old Catholic prognostications that, while employed judiciously in these pages, nonetheless suggest a prodigious amount of research. He's less successful with his casting. Valendrea is a wincingly unnuanced scoundrel, and Ms. Lew achieves scarce definition beyond being a raven-tressed temptress to powerful prelates. Thankfully, Berry does better by Michener, who finds himself at a crossroads, carrying on in Clement's name even as he searches for confirmation that his own life of devotion and service has been meaningful. Although the secrets "revealed" in this tale seem more controversial than plausible, and a potentially intriguing subplot about the excommunication of a maverick priest ends up as a throwaway device, The Third Secret builds to a conclusion that is as suspenseful and stunning as it is inevitable. Have faith. --J. Kingston Pierce --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the lost library in Alexandria to the origins of papal succession, Steve Berry is known for adding elements of history to his bestselling thrillers. Visit Amazon's Steve Berry Page.
More About the Author
History lies at the heart of every Steve Berry novel. It's his passion, one he shares with his wife, Elizabeth, which led them to create History Matters, a foundation dedicated to historic preservation. Since 2009 Steve and Elizabeth have crossed the country to save endangered historic treasures, raising over one million dollars via lectures, receptions, galas, luncheons, dinners and their popular writers' workshops. To date, over 2,800 students have attended those workshops.
In 2012 and 2013 their work was recognized by the American Library Association, which named Steve as the spokesman for National Preservation Week. He also serves on the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board. He has received the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award; the 2013 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award; his novel The Columbus Affair earned him the Anne Frank Human Writes Award; and International Thriller Writers bestowed him their Silver Bullet for his work with historic preservation. A 2010 NPR survey named The Templar Legacy one of the top 100 thrillers ever written.
Steve was born and raised in Georgia, graduating from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University. He was a trial lawyer for 30 years and held elective office for 14 of those years. He is a founding member of International Thriller Writers--a group of more than 3,000 thriller writers from around the world--and served three years as its co-president.
For more information, visit www.steveberry.org.
Top Customer Reviews
An appariton of the Virgin Mary observed by 3 peasant children in 1917 Fatima, Portugal and the disclosures made by her form the crux of the plot of the novel. The Virgin purportedly revealed 3 secrets, two of which were revealed by one of the children named Lucia. The third secret, however remained concealed within the walls of the Vatican only observed by papal eyes until its revelation in the year 2000.
Father Colin Michener, papal secretary to present pope Clement XV has served the former Cardinal of Cologne faithfully for years. They forged a father son relationship and Michener was concerned by the popes behavior. Pope Clement had been spending an inordinate amount of time in the Riserva, a Vatican library whose contents were reserved for papal use only. Clement was a progressive pope altering rather than sticking to the old doctrines of the Vatican.
Vatican Secretary of State Italian Cardinal Valendrea was at odds with Pope Clement. Having narrowly lost the papacy in the last conclave, Valendrea with lofty aspirations to become pope, favored a return to the princples of the past. Valendrea was a corrupt man using eavesdropping devices he had installed in the Vatican to keep members of the college of cardinals in line.
Pope Clement became aware that the third secret of Fatima stored in the Reserva seemed incomplete. He recruited Father Michener to discover the missing segment of the secret by travelling to Romania to speak with a Father Tibor, the original translator of the account of the peasant girl Lucia.Read more ›
But there are a couple of irritants.
First, the writing style. Why does so much of the novel have to be written in the pluperfect tense? We are constantly reading `he'd done this' or `she'd said that', and the effect is that most of the book seems to be a series of recollections. A few flashbacks are fine, but this is overdone. And breaking up the narrative so that we switch back and forward between characters, each time leaving one at a cliffhanger moment, is a standard technique, but again, it becomes tiresome when it is done so repetitively. You feel like you're watching a TV show that has too many commercial breaks.
Second, the endorsement of abortion in Mary's messages is done in a heavy-handed way that makes you wonder if it was a last minute addition. `Hey, I've got away with having the Mother of God endorse priestly marriage, female priests, and homosexuality (though I think Berry is a bit ambivalent about that one - see below), maybe I can throw abortion in as well'. The desirability of priests being free to marry was well set up in the plot, but abortion just comes out of left field at the last minute.Read more ›
Father Colin Michener is the papal secretary for Pope Clement XV. Clement is obsessed with the visitations of the Virgin Mary at La Salette, Lourdes, Fatima and Medjugorje. He is especially intent on discovering the third secret of Fatima. Clement sends Michener to Romania and Bosnia in his efforts to uncover the truth. But there is another powerful member of the Vatican Curia who has knowledge of the third secret. He is so fearful of it coming to light that he has resorted to wiretapping, blackmail and even murder.
Berry weaves this tale around Roman Catholic history. In addition to the visitations, he also uses the predictions of St. Malachy of the 16th Century, Irish birthing centers in the 20th Century, and the procedures for papal succession. While the historic aspects were interesting, the plot was a stretch. Without giving away the plot, Fatima's third secret (as revealed in this book) is just totally unbelievable and would change almost all the core beliefs of the Roman Church. Most of the characters are also a bit over the top. Michener, an ordained priest and lawyer, is way too gullible. His former girlfriend, Katerina Lew, is totally self-centered and not very likable. Cardinal Alberto Valendrea is too Machiavellian, and his assistant, Paolo Ambrosi acts more like a Nazi SS officer than a priest.
While The Third Secret was a fast-paced thriller that kept my interest, it is not of the same caliber as other books of this genre including The DaVinci Code.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you want a great surprising suspense novel this, and any Steve Berry book, will fit the bill.Published 1 day ago by Natick2010
It seems that Steve Berry must, absolutely, positive and without fail, try to involve HEAVY religious dogma into each of his books. What a shame. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Steve Walter
As with most of Berry's books I couldn't put it down! Good detail and lots of excitement! A great read!Published 1 month ago by j.a.s
Even though this is fictional it really could give Catholics something to think about. Very well written and very believable.Published 1 month ago by Jim Costello
I read this book years ago, it was my first book by Berry.
I thoroughly enjoyed this suspenseful book revolving around the appearance of the virgin Mary to the children... Read more
I really want to like Steve berry books. This one seemed to drag on with very little suspense. Very predictable although characters better developed than his cotton Malone hero in... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
One of his best. Great read!. Was wondering. Has any of his novels been made into movies.? This one would certainly be a good one to start with. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Slightly kazooed