Book review: Sign of the Cross

18 Dec 2019 / 12:22 H.

WHEN a priest in Italy is suddenly afflicted with stigmata (bleeding from wounds on his wrists), news of this phenomenon spreads throughout the country. The priest, Padre Giovanni Berardino, soon becomes a celebrity in his small parish.

Meanwhile, Cal Donovan, a professor of religious history at Harvard University in Boston who has written several books and papers on the history of stigmata, is summoned by the Vatican to investigate this unusual case.

Donovan flies to Italy and visits the priest, whose wrists are constantly bleeding. After his interview with Giovanni, Donovan also visits Giovanni’s family, as well as places he has recently visited. His investigations eventually lead him to believe that Giovanni did not fake his stigmata.

Donovan delivers his written findings to the Vatican, but is asked by the Vatican secretary to keep the results a secret.

The professor is confused, but keeps his personal views and beliefs to himself. After returning home, Donovan learns that Giovanni has been kidnapped and is missing.

He also has a vision of the priest calling out to him for help, and decides to return to Italy to try and rescue Giovanni.

Donovan is joined in his search by the priest’s sister Irene.

Eventually, Donovan and Irene come to realise that Giovanni holds the key to an earth-shattering secret – a secret which a shadowy Nazi organisation is desperate to control.

The duo must unravel the mystery and track down Giovanni in an exciting race against the clock before an apocalyptic catastrophe is unleashed.

This riveting conspiracy thriller from Glenn Cooper offers readers a solid mystery adventure story, with a climactic ending.

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