When Alex and Mona had a son, Mona refused to name him after Simon, because Simon was so unpredictable, totally unreliable. As a compromise he was named Peter, and naturally Peter worships his uncle Simon. Alex and Simon Andreou are both priests. Both grew up in the Vatican, sons of a Greek Orthodox priest. Orthodox priests are allowed to marry, and Alex followed in his father’s footsteps, married and had a son. Simon became a Catholic priest, a diplomat in the Secretariat of State and he dotes on little Peter. The very last thing Simon and Alex would want to do is put Peter in danger, but their involvement in the upcoming exhibit of the Shroud of Turin might do just that, for the curator of the exhibit has been found shot in the head.
This is a wonderful book, full of intrigue, murder, religious conspiracy, plot twists and the history of the Catholic Church. It is also a story of family relationships and is peopled by smart characters with many layered personalities. Descriptions of life in the Vatican are fascinating. I just had never thought about the ordinary people who lived there, the shopkeepers, mechanics, gardeners, the Swiss Guards, and all the children. Ian Caldwell spent ten years researching and writing this novel, and it was well worth it. Highly recommended.
eGalley review Publication date 3.3.15