It is very difficult to match this complex thriller exactly--there are so many possibilities that may appeal to the reader. Is it the religious conspiracy? The historical aspect? The divine feminine? The espionage? The heart-pounding suspense and action? This list suggests a few books from each category.
Former secret agent Cotton Malone and Stephanie Nelle, a U.S. Justice Department prosecutor, must solve the mystery of fourteenth-century Templar riches and secrets before Raymond de Roquefort and his murderous allies prevail.
With Europe convulsed in wars over religion, a young theology student finds himself siding with heretics and the disenfranchised while confronting an agent of the Vatican who intends to hunt down and destroy enemies of the faith.
After hearing the confession of a renowned scientist who is now dying, the pastor of a remote parish in the Umbrian region of Italy rushes to Rome to alert the Vatican powers of an unspeakable sin. In a suburb of Washington, D.C., Joe Lassiter learns that his only sister and her young son have been killed in a fire that destroyed their house and soon discovers that the fire is part of a much larger conspiracy that he must stop.
In this complex psychological thriller, the narrator, Casaubon, an expert on the medieval Knights Templars, and two editors working in a branch of a vanity press publishing house in Milan, are told about a purported coded message revealing a secret plan set in motion by the Knights Templars centuries ago when the society was forced underground.
An entertainment lawyer investigates the murder of a high-ranking cardinal and finds evidence that points to a conspiracy in the Vatican to create a new Holy Roman Empire.
The murder of Sister Valentine, an activist nun, leads her brother, lawyer Ben Driskill, on a deadly quest for her killer, a search that leads to a secret order of assassins that the Catholic Church has deployed for centuries at times of grave threats.
Science and spirituality collide as an experiment in Aritifical Intelligence goes terribly awry, and one ethical man holds the key to preventing the largest international debacle one can imagine. Pursued by National Security operatives, and foreign governments Dr. David Tennant and his psychologist pursue the truth, exploring Jesus's final days in Jerusalem before finding the answer. Fast-paced and compelling.
When the opening gala of a Vatican exhibit attended by archaeologist Tess Chaykin is stormed by four horsemen dressed as Templar Knights who steal an artifact, FBI anti-terrorist specialist Sean Reilly and Tess team up for an investigation.
Shortly after ex-spy Lang Reilly's sister dies in an explosion in her Paris home, a reproduction of a painting by the 17th-century artist Poussin, which his sister bought the day before she died and which includes an odd Latin inscription, disappears from Lang's home. With police and killers on his trail, Lang embarks on a journey to Italy to uncover the painting's secrets as well as its connection to his sister, enlisting the help of former co-workers. Somewhat dry excerpts from a medieval account of the Knights of the Temple punctuate the action, hinting that the mystery is more complex than Lang can imagine. See Review.
The story of the Vatican's powerful financial network and the mysterious figure known as the Keeper who is in charge of it. The author was professor in the Vatican's Pontifical Biblical Institute.
A priest is thrown to his death from the top of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican, and Brother Paul, a former Miami homicide policeman and now the pope's personal investigator, is called in to investigate.
Combining Ludlum-like political intrigue with a religious twist, this book revolves around a sliver of stained glass depicting the eyes of the Madonna, which is believed to possess supernatural powers. The artifact has long been safe in the benevolent hands of the Vatican and its secret society of defenders, the Elder Knights of Malta, but as the novel kicks off, the shard is stolen by the Guild, a shadowy international cabal.
Alice, a volunteer at an archaeological dig, becomes a target after discovering a pair of crumbling skeletons in the Pyrenees mountains, while eight hundred years in the past, Alačis, the daughter of a crusader, must safeguard the location of the Holy Grail.
The Da Vinci Codex is a priceless collection of Leonardo's original work-- or is it? When Da Vinci scholar Vance Erikson discovers that several of the Codex's pages are forgeries, the search is on for the genuine documents, which may hold startling secrets and revelations.But Erikson is not the only one seeking the missing pages. He soon finds himself the target of a murderous conspiracy that dates back to the dawn of Christianity itself.
In The Book of Q, a modern-day priest uncovers a sixth-century conspiracy that threatens to re-awaken in the present, and his investigation carries him to Croatia where he will confront the consequences of an eight-year-old affair. In The Overseer, when a document containing a master plan for world domination falls into the hands of the ruthless Overseer cabal and they launch a campaign of world terror, a beautiful government agent joins forces with a brilliant young political theorist to stop them.
The story of the theft of the bones of the Magi shares Dan Brown’s religious angle, and there is plenty of Tom Clancy military flavor as well. When a reliquary containing the bones of the Magi vanishes with the burning of a German cathedral, SIGMA force is rushed in to save the day.
Sent to oversee the completion of Da Vinci's "The Last Supper," Dominican inquisitor Fray Agustin Leyre investigates the artist's omission of key elements and use of symbolic imagery, which suggests that there is a coded message in the painting.
In the wake of a Munich writer's assassination, Mossad agent Gabriel Allon and Vatican priest Pietro embark on dangerous journeys that reveal long-buried secrets affecting the fates of millions of people. Other books in the Gabriel Allon series will probably do as well; The Kill Artist (2000), The English Assassin (2002), Death in Vienna (2004), and Prince of Fire (2005).
First published in 1972, The Word remains a classic of brilliant storytelling, authentic detail and breathtaking narrative power. The classic thriller of an ancient manuscript, a secret society committed to hiding an explosive truth, and the man who must uncover that truth--if he can stay alive long enough when in the ruins of the ancient Roman seaport of Ostia Antica, an Italian archaeologist has discovered a first century papyrus, its faded text revealing a new gospel written by James, younger brother of Jesus. This discovery will show the world a new Jesus Christ, fill in the missing years of his ministry, contradict the existing accounts of his life--and potentially destroy the foundation of 2,000 years of Western civilization.
Jon Feldman, a TV correspondent, investigates when a mysterious woman named Jeza appears out of nowhere in Jerusalem on Chistmas Eve 1999 claiming to be a new Messiah.
Evidence of a female messiah executed by the Church in the fourth century has been stolen from its safe hiding place in the Vatican, and now all hell is breaking loose in the modern world as a result.
In December 1999, Catherine Alexander discovers six ancient papyrus scrolls that reveal a hidden history of the world and its religions, but a seventh scroll, containing unimaginable power, is missing and Catherine must dodge government agents, Vatican operatives, and more to locate it.
In this good first effort from lawyer Berry, Rachel Cutler finds eveything she loves threatened when her father dies under suspicious circumstances. The rival quests of two art collectors who seek one of the world's greatest treasures, the Russian Amber Room, lost after the Second World War think Rachel holds the key to finding the treasure. Contains some bad language and violence.
Kissed a Sad Goodbye is a new case for Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Sergeant Gemma Jones of Scotland Yard and starts in the blitz-torn London of 1939 where two boys begin a friendship that will, years later, lead to a young woman's murder. In A Finer End, Kincaid and James must penetrate the perils that shadow everyone in Glastonbury--an ancient place linked to Druid magic and the great Abbey renowned as Christendom's first church. Other titles in this series are A Share in Death, All Shall be Well, Leave the Grave Green, Mourn Not Your Dead, Dreaming of the Bones, And Justice There is None, and Now May You Weep.
The former queen of both England and France, Eleanor of Aquitaine sends her one-time ward, Alais, sister of the king of France, on a mission to retrieve a cache of dangerous letters hidden in Canterbury Cathedral.
When a frustrated philosopher uncovers what he believes is a lost painting by Bruegel in a boorish neighbor's basement, he embarks on a quest to separate the work from its owner.
In 1966, Margot Harrington, a book conservator, goes to Florence to help after the Arno River floods, and when she finds a rare manuscript of erotica in a convent, the mother superior wants to sell it to raise money for their library.
Medieval murder investigations beginning with the first in the series, The Last Templar (1995). Bailiff Simon Puttock and Sir Baldwin Furnshill, series protagonists, investigate. A 14th-century historical; fans of Ellis Peters's Brother Cadfael series will enjoy.
The Seventh Unicorn (2005). A beautiful, ambitious widow searches for a lost medieval tapestry in France for Paris's Cluny Museum with a long lost artist love. Strong debut with a nice mix of intrigue and sexual tension.
Alex Plumtree is thrilled to acquire a rare book rumored to have been destroyed by King Edward IV, but when the book disappears and a corpse turns up, he is on the trail of a killer who will stop at nothing to conceal the truth hidden in the pages of that book, one of the Booklovers series, beginning with Unsolicited, and followed by Unbound, Unprintable, Untitled, Unsigned, and Uncatalogued.
A young novice during the French Revolution risks her life to keep a jeweled chess set that Moors gave Charlemagne, and in the 20th century, a computer expert and a chess master try to solve the mystery of what happened to her.
Pears, an art historian, has made art mysteries his specialty. The first of the Flavia DiStefano series begins with The Raphael Affair in which vandalism and murder follow a newly-discovered Raphael painting to London, and Bottando decides to investigate with the help of his glamorous assistant, Flavia. The second in the series, The Titian Committee, is a light romp that produces dead art historians with worrisome regularity. When the first such corpse, formerly the only female member of the illustrious Titian Committee, is discovered among the lilies in a Venice greenhouse, Roman art squad detective Flavia di Stefano is sent to investigate, but not too thoroughly.
When is art-curator father is murdered, Reb Barnett sets out to find the killer, and soon finds out that his father was killed over the Medici Dagger, created by Leonardo da Vinci in 1491. This dagger is so dangerous it has been hidden for five centuries, and is now the key to the ultimate terrorist weapon.
Author Badal, sets the story in the sun-drenched Greek Isles and attempts to capitalize on the usual formulaic constants in a book revolving around the modern Greeks and their domain: It all begins with the discovery of a secret map and an unsolvable riddle (could the title have anything to do with it?) by an American businessman and a beautiful Greek woman who naturally are drawn into a life and death situation that threatens their lives. The setting works, but the plotting and characters are derivative and very predictable. A quick beach read without any real depth but with some real page-turning moments if you have the stomach for torture scenes and snide superior villains.
Another literary page-turner...With time running out on his contract to decode an ancient Egyptian tablet, an obsessed scholar is seduced and seemingly abandoned by others with equal but less pure interest in the deep past. Bondurant's debut entry in the growing genre of academic crypto-thrillers considers the real-life Stela of Paser, an Egyptian relic held by the British Museum (where the author once worked). See review.
In the first Robert Langdon novel, Angels & Demons,
the murder of a world-famous physicist raises fears that the Illuminati are operating again after centuries of silence, and religion professor Langdon is called in to assist with the case. In Deception Point, on the eve of a presidential race in which NASA's budget is a pivotal issue, the space agency announces the discovery of an ancient meteorite filled with fossils deep in the Arctic ice.
Amazing first effort. Trying to decipher an ancient text that weaves a mathematical labyrinth within a love story, two researchers obtain a diary that may contain the key to the code, but when a fellow researcher is killed, they realize that the book contains a dangerous secret. Excellent pacing, and the authors give you an intimate picture into the world and environs of Princeton University.
"Cussler is the quintessential Adventure writer; his books convey the tension of a hero on a mission, marshalling the troops, overcoming obstacles, and ultimately saving the day. To this basic framework, Cussler adds just a touch of the fantastic. His most recent story pattern includes a historical prologue, in which he sets up a puzzle — what happened to Atlantis, did the Vikings reach America in the 11th century, and more. He links this historical curiosity to the story and resolves the question he poses by the end. Far-fetched though this solution may be, it works within the context of his story" (NoveList. Saricks, 2002).
Dirk Pitt is the author's specific hero; however his novels abound with stalwart characters who assist Pitt in his missions.
This author produces a stylish suspense novel with plenty of gruesome details and thrilling action. The novels usually stand alone but there are two Paul Brennan novels, The General's Daughter (1989) and Up Country (2001) in which an Army investigator has to swim through the troubled waters of his own military branch and other law enforcement agencies.
In this literary thriller and debut, a New England professor investigates an international smuggling ring. When a twelfth-century Sicilian cat burglar snatches a sack of artifacts from the king's geographer's library, the tools and talismans of transmutation (and eternal life) are soon scattered all over the world. Nine hundred years later, a young Connecticut reporter finds evidence that someone is collecting them again. In the process of investigating the suspicious death of a local professor, Paul Tomm finds the dead man's heavily fortified office stuffed with books on alchemy.
The success of The Rule of Four and The Da Vinci Code have shown that plenty of readers enjoy their science, as long as there is a compelling plot encircling it, which there is in Adam Fawer’s debut. The story is about a compulsive gambler with an extraordinary ability to calculate the odds; however, he has just seen his sure-thing poker hand go bad, leaving him deep in debt to a Russian gangster.
Forsyth does very little wrong in his books, and The Day of the Jackal (1971) is still considered a classic. In it, an Englishman plans to assassinate Charles de Gaulle, but police are alerted and begin to hunt him before he succeeds.
An investment banker is sent by his firm to organize a collection of rare books for a mysterious client and realizes that there may be a medieval codex hidden among the volumes that parallels a computer game's addictive virtual reality world. Spooky & intriguing--this was hard to put down.
If a breathless race attracts you, than try Gilstrap's At All Costs (1998). Unjustly accused of massacring sixteen people and sparking one of the country's worst environmental catastrophes, Jake and Carolyn Donovan, and their young son, elude the FBI for years, until they finally decide to fight back.
Short chapters, action sequences, and dialog make Grippando's novels fast-paced reading and drive the reader to the resolution. The multiple plot twists keep you guessing and turning pages until the last twist. In Beyond Suspicion (2002), lawyer Jack Swyteck, believing himself settled into a quiet life, is horrified when a former client turns up dead, placing Jack under suspicion and forcing him to find the real killer before he becomes the next victim.
When his part in the settlement of a hostage crisis is revealed, congressman Evan Kendrick becomes the pawn of those who wish to make him president and the target of terrorists seeking revenge. Any early Ludlum fits the bill of fast-paced suspense and thrilling plotting.
British intelligent agent Nick Stone goes to visit an old friend in Washington, D.C., and finds his friend's entire family slaughtered--except for a seven-year-old girl. With the girl in tow, Stone soon finds that anonymous assassins are hunting them. Beginning of a series.
For great pacing and build-up, try his Washington, D.C. homocide detective/clinical psychologist Alex Cross series which begins with Along Came a Spider (1993).
Years ago Tracy Barnes saw her lover murdered by the Stasi, the East German secret police. Now, after the end of the Cold War, she finds the killer and plans to make him pay. She soon finds herself a pawn in international politics.
Political intrigue with female characters seems to be Shelby's forte, considered to be a writer of real nail-biters. Try By Dawn's Early Light (2002), and you'll probably want his others: Days of Drums (1996), Last Rights (1997), & Gatekeeper (1998).
Movie stuntman Reb Barnett finds himself a pawn in a game played by a shadowy spy organization when he sets off to find the fabled Medici Dagger, a weapon invented by Leonardo Da Vinci and made of an indestructable alloy.
Especially the Will Lee series which begins with Run Before the Wind (1983). A young law student visiting his grandfather in Ireland inadvertently becomes involved with the Irish Republican Army. Later in the series, Lee sees political intrigue in Grass Roots (1989), The Run (2000) & Capital Crimes (2003).
With a grateful acknowledgement to Kathie Newsted, Readers Services at the Huntley Area Public Library, Huntley, IL for compiling the genesis of this list for Fiction-L and all those who contributed to it, as well as NoveList. And Michael B. Gannon's Blood, Bedlam, Bullets, and Badguys: A Readers' Guide to Adventure/Suspense Fiction. Libraries Unlimited, 2004.
If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, Readers' Advisory Librarian
Lucius Beebe Memorial Library - - lme