As a writer one of the ways in which I choose to 'hone' my craft is by reading - a lot! One of the authors whose books I've just recently begun reading is Steve Berry. This gentleman is a lawyer in his daytime persona but has also written some very interesting novels to date. I read Templar Legacy due solely to a recommendation and review done here on SR. I knew that as is my habit, I would be seeking out every other title this author had written and would await any additional titles in the future - yes, this author and his books are just that good.
The Third Secret is only one of a handful of novels that I have read in record time. Usually I will meander through the book chapter by chapter, taking a week or more to complete it. This book however, I began yesterday and today I am almost finished its 400 pages. If you are like me and find the Knights of the Templar, the DaVinci Code and other such theories interesting, you will enjoy this book which is yet another look into the Catholic Church, the Papacy and the mysteries surrounding such miraculous visions as those experienced by three young children in 1917 in Fatima (Our Lady of Fatima).
The book opens with an overview of those sitings in 1917 and lays the foundation for the novel which then brings us into modern day Vatican City to learn about a Pope, Clement XV, a Papal Secretary, Father Colin Michener and their quest to uncover the "Third Secret" which was told to the children of Fatima and was squirreled away in the Vatican's Riserva (library), not revealed to the world until 2000 despite having been viewed by the eyes of several preceding Popes. The true secret however appeared to leave people of the Church concerned that not all was revealed and Clement XV takes it upon himself to complete the task that many Popes before him had not managed to do.
Secretary of State Alberto Cardinal Valendrea who believes he is next in line as Pope is one of the few people who know of the Third Secret in its entirety and will do anything to ensure that the World is not offered a glimpse into the true story. When Clements XV dies suddenly it is left up to Father Michener to continue to uncover the truth behind the Fatima visions, a truth that could change the fate of the Church.
There are twists, turns and even 'wow, wasn't expecting that!' moments throughout the book and the story moves smoothly along several time lines with a flow that is easy to follow and with every chapter leaves you wanting to continue reading - even if your eyes are tired :).
What I find extremely unique about Steve Berry's novels is the fact that each one comes with Writer's Notes at the end in which Berry discusses his research for the novel. In reading just this section of the book one learns that there is literally a good deal of effort that goes into his research including personally traveling and investigating events as they are dealt with in his books. In this particular book for instance we learn that he traveled to Italy and Germany and as he goes chapter by chapter to tell us whether or not the information provided was true or fictional, we learn of many things that before picking up the book - we may not have known, such as the actual fact that indeed the Third Secret was actually kept hidden in the Riserva while several Popes maintained its Secret, not revealing it until the year 2000. You will have to read this book however to learn what that secret was.
His books are in his words ones which he "wants to educate and entertain" his readers. There is no doubt in my mind that he does this and more! An excellent read that even if you are not Catholic (which I'm not) will have you truly mesmerized and wanting to read more. A must read if you are at all into suspense, conspiracy or just looking for a very well researched book by a very talented author.
My next book from this author waiting to be read is "The Alexandria Link" - I can't wait to revisit Cotton Malone (Templar Legacy) and see what he's up to this time!