“Masterful...The Fifth Gospel
is that rare story: erudite and a page-turner, literary but
compulsively readable. It will change the way you look at organized
religion, humanity, and perhaps yourself.” —David Baldacci
“A gripping thriller rich with human drama and forbidden knowledge.” —Lev Grossman
A lost gospel, a contentious
relic, and a dying pope’s final wish converge to send two brothers—both
Vatican priests—on an intellectual quest to untangle Christianity’s
greatest historical mystery.
Ten years ago, Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason’s The Rule of Four
became a literary phenomenon that sold nearly two million copies in
North America and was hailed by critics as “ingenious…profoundly
erudite” (The New York Times), “compulsively readable” (People), and “an exceptional piece of scholarship” (San Francisco Chronicle).
Now, after a decade of painstaking primary research, Ian Caldwell
returns with a masterful new thriller that confirms his place among the
most ambitious popular storytellers working today.
In 2004, as Pope John Paul II’s
reign enters its twilight, a mysterious exhibit is under construction at
the Vatican Museums. A week before it is scheduled to open, its curator
is murdered at a clandestine meeting on the outskirts of Rome. That
same night, a violent break-in rocks the home of the curator’s research
partner, Father Alex Andreou, a Greek Catholic priest who lives inside
the Vatican with his five-year-old son. When the papal police fail to
identify a suspect in either crime, Father Alex, desperate to keep his
family safe, undertakes his own investigation. To find the killer he
must reconstruct the dead curator’s secret: what the four Christian
gospels—and a little-known, true-to-life fifth gospel known as the
Diatessaron—reveal about the Church’s most controversial holy relic. But
just as he begins to understand the truth about his friend’s death and
its consequences for the future of the world’s two largest Christian
Churches, Father Alex finds himself hunted down by someone with a vested
stake in the exhibit—someone he must outwit to survive.
At once a riveting intellectual thriller, a feast of biblical history and scholarship, and a moving family drama, The Fifth Gospel
is “a story of sacrifice, forgiveness, and redemption. Peppered with
references to real-life people, places, and events, the narrative rings
true, taking the reader on an emotional journey nearly two thousand
years in the making” (Library Journal, starred review).