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4.0 out of 5 stars A 20th century appariton influences Vatican policy, August 2, 2005
This review is from: The Third Secret: A Novel of Suspense (Hardcover)
Steve Berry's "The Third Secret" is a blending together of religious fact with fiction to create a creditable thriller based upon doctrines set forth by the Vatican.

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.

Berry leads us on a trail of adventure and intrigue as on one hand the true meaning of the secret is trying to be revealed. At the same time forces lead by the conservative Cardinal Valendrea are attempting to suppress its contents. The plot is at times uneven but the religious history, when woven into the story is fascinating.
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