Sign of the Cross

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

"Sign of the Cross" by Glenn Cooper is a fast moving thriller taking the reader through the machinations of the church.  What I loved about this book was that it has all of the action, tension, and excitement of a Dan Brown thriller, but with the added sense of a belief in the work of faith.  When a stigmata develops on a priest, Cal Donaovan is sent by the church to check into the miracle.  Simultaneously there are elements about that appear to be trying to silence those who know anything about the stigmata.  This book is a true, hard to put down, page turner and definitely worth a read.
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Not sure why but this one wasn't really for me.
It's well written with good characterisation but just felt like I had read it before and I wasn't in a hurry to pick it up.
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If religious conspiracies, Nazi plots for world domination and globe trotting action are what you are looking for this summer then you can’t go wrong with Sign of the Cross from Glenn Cooper.

I’ve been a fan of his writing since his Library of the Dead trilogy starring FBI agent Will Piper and this book, the start of a new series delivers everything I was expecting. 

In Sign of the Cross we are introduced to new hero Cal Donavan, a religious and archaeology professor at Harvard. If you imagine a modern day Indiana Jones the you’re not far off. The book is expertly researched from the Nazi obsession with discovering supernatural objects during WW2 to the protocols of religious stigmata and the inner politics of the Vatican. I have always been fascinated by the Vatican library and religious conspiracy theories so this book had me hooked from the start

It moves at a cracking pace, peeling backs layers of hidden history and moving from Boston, to the Vatican City to Berlin and beyond. But for me it never felt like you were being buried by historical facts. I can’t wait for the next in the series.

The book is the perfect companion to lazing away a hot summers day.
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Fans of Dan  Brown will love this book.  Religion, relics, conspiracy, and mystery.  This was a great summer read on the beach.  It is fast paced and captivating. 
Many thanks to Black Thorn and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I really enjoyed this book even though at one point I felt I was being asked to believe in the unbelievable. This book has been compared to The Davinci Code however I do believe was better as the story line although revoling around the Vatican in part,  had more depth to it as well as being somewhat a topical subject of you live in Britain at this time. I am looking forward to the next installment of Cal Donovan.
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Sign of the Cross is a tense religious actioner that is perfect for fans of the DaVinci Code.

Cal Donovan, a Harvard professor of religion and archaeology, is called by the Pope to investigate an Italian priest’s stigmata. The stigmata is bleeding at the points where the nails entered Jesus to crucify him. Another group is also looking for the priest hoping to make a horrible weapon that promises to start the apocalypse.

It is hard not to compare Sign of the Cross to the Dan Brown books. The hero, Cal, has the same job. The reason for the task is religious. However, the DaVinci Code’s quest is both more complex and more interesting. But I’ve already read the DaVinci Code multiple times and I wasn’t very thrilled with the later books from Dan Brown. To be fair, this is a good book. The hero, the priest, the Nazis and neo-Nazis villains are mostly believable. The prose and pacing are fine. I would totally read another book by this author. However, this one was a bit too derivative for me. 3 stars!

Thanks to Black Thorn Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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A young Catholic seminarian, Giovanni Beradino, and a classmate are visiting a forgotten monastery in Croatia. One of the remaining monks asks the soon-to-be Father Gio, but not his friend, to join him in a crypt where he is exposed to what appears to be a relic of the Crucifixion.

Father Gio gets assigned to a tiny parish in Italy with the goal of being a simple priest tending to his flock. But he becomes the focus of the media and religious pilgrims when he develops stigmata – bleeding from the wrists, ankles, the same locations of the nails to Christ’s hand and feet, and in his side where the Centurian’s spear pierced the side of Jesus on the cross.

When such miracles occur, the Vatican must investigate. Normally, they convene a council that eventually debunks the story. Because of the publicity, the Pope requests the help of an author of religious antiquities to be an objective 3rd party. The author is Dr. Cal Donovan (no relation to Fitz Donovan of the Jane Street book just reviewed) of the Harvard Divinity School. He goes to Italy for a preliminary investigation and finds Father Gio an earnest young priest thrust into a caldron he doesn’t understand.

Father Gio also grabs the attention of a couple well-heeled Germans who present themselves as simply idle rich treasure hunters, but in reality, they are descended from a line of former SS commanders. During the war, their parents or grandparents were charged with finding Christian relics from the Crucifixion. The belief was that whomever held those artifacts would possess unmatched power. They were to find some of the Crucifixion nails, pieces of the Cross of Christ, and the head of the Centurian’s spear. Some were found and secured in a bunker in Antarctica. They believe this priest holds the key to power denied, but more importantly, a resurrection of the Third Reich.

Sound like Raiders of the Lost Ark? Or The Last Crusade? Or The Da Vinci Code? You’d be right. I’ll admit it’s an entertaining read and the main characters are well developed. Many might say it’s a good summer beach diversion. The story is well-paced and presents enough clues that this is the beginning of a series of books about Dr. Cal Donovan. Just couldn’t get over the feeling that we’ve been down this road before.
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Glenn Cooper is a master writer, and I was excited to learn of a new series. This book did not disappoint. It successfully mixes history, mystery, intrigue, religion, and politics while educating the reader in a most interesting novel.. Multiple timelines are often used needlessly, but here the technique works to perfection. The characters are well-developed and the promise of more books to continue the story has me waiting anxiously. I received an advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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The ultimate conspiracy that involves a religious tale of Relics of the True Cross, Nazis ,and other fanatics all wanting to find the nails, thorns and the lance, in order to combine all three elements to bring death and destruction to the Jews of Jerusalem .
Set in two time lines, the first tells of the hunt for the true relics of the cross, ordered by Adolf Hitler, in order to harness the vast religious power, it was believed would be unleashed.  The second timeline concerns present day Italy, where a young priest has been visited by the phenomenon of Stigmata, and disturbing visions. The Vatican wants Professor Cal Donovan to perform investigations to see if the priest is a fake, or a true sufferer for his faith, and therefore, indicative of a miracle.
I love a good conspiracy theory, but one that involves the hunt for Christian relics, the Pope, Nazis hunting for religious artefacts- not the Holy Grail!- the story rolls along like a cerebral Indiana Jones!!  This is a great story for agnostics and believers alike, it is very moving and so very plausible. It is full of description , I would love to visit the Papal library, I could lose myself in there for years! When it comes to descriptions of Italy, Abruzzo, you can feel the heat and passion of the country and people, the intensity of the search for answers, and always being respectful of beliefs.
I believe  the character of Pope Celestine, is modelled on the current Pope, Francis. I believe him to be a true reformer, and sympathetic to the plight of the poorest people. Humility and servitude are his watchwords. 
This is a marvellous book, in the true meaning of the word. It is the first book in a planned trilogy, and I will be eagerly awaiting the sequels! 
I read and throughly enjoyed The Library of the Dead, both books are of the same genre, and make you ask, ' could that have really happened?. My son bought that book for me as I was going to the Isle of Wight music festival, and it mentioned Vectis Abbey, or Quarr Abbey, and he knew I would investigate the area, because that's what I do!! I haven't got many actual books, but that was one I kept and have reread many times! 
The omens are good for this proposed trilogy. I have given this a five star rating and will post to Goodreads.
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I've read several books by Glenn Cooper and have enjoyed them all. This one was no different. Fast paced read and easy to get interested in. I recommend this book.
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Sign of the Cross is a fast paced thriller that I could not put down. Great writing and well developed characters. I hope to read more from this author.
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Sign Of The Cross by Glenn Cooper is a thriller that had me hooked from the first page. I could not put this book down and read it in two days.
The story in set in two timelines, during World War Two when there was plunder of religious artefacts by the Nazi's and in present day Italy.
A young priest has show signs of developing the stigmata. The Pope has asked Cal Donovan an American professor of religion to look into this matter to see if the claims are true. 
A neo-Nazi group in Germany see this as a way to use the young priest for their own agenda.
There were some really great characters in this book and the tension was building from chapter to chapter. 
This is the first book I have read by this author and I will certainly look out for more of his work. I can't wait for the second book in this trilogy to be released.
Thank you to NetGalley and Black Thorn Books for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
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