In The Flanders Panel
, Spanish novelist Arturo Pérez- Reverte set his elegant literary mystery in the heady worlds of high art and competitive chess. His next novel, The Club Dumas
, was a magical brew of antiquarian books, satanic manuals and fallen angels. P&ecaute;rez-Reverte's third thriller translated into English moves from fallen angels to fallen clerics as he explores the labyrinthine politics of the Roman Catholic Church. The Seville Communion
begins in the Vatican with a hacker code- named "Vespers" breaking into the pope's personal computer and leaving a cryptic message: "In Spain, in Seville, there is a place where merchants are threatening the house of God and where a small seventeenth century church kills to defend itself..." Pérez-Reverte then introduces his flawed hero, Father Lorenzo Quart, a valuable operative in the Holy Office's Institute for External Affairs (known as "the dirty works department," by some members of the Curia). It's his job to go to Seville, investigate two mysterious deaths at Our Lady of the Tears and discover the identity of Vespers.
Once in Seville, Father Quart finds himself collar-deep in intrigue: There is the wealthy banker who wants the land the church stands on and his beautiful, estranged wife who will do anything to thwart him. There is Father Ferro, the fierce parish priest and Sister Gris Marsala, an American nun and architect, both intent on saving Our Lady of the Tears. There are also three endearing villains-for-hire who steal every scene they are in. P&ecaute;rez-Reverte skillfully weaves murder, mystery, and corrupt politics--both sacred and profane--through his story before arriving at his trademark unpredictable ending. The Seville Communion lacks some of the passion and quirky originality that infused both The Club Dumas and The Flanders Panel; his protagonist, Father Quart, is burdened by being described as devastatingly attractive--"like Richard Chamberlin in The Thornbirds but more manly;" the object of his reluctant affection, Macarena, is perfectly stunning and neither is as interesting as the secondary characters who populate the book. Fortunately, the supporting cast, ranging from a washed-up boxer to an impoverished duchess, is delightful, the story is well-crafted and well-written, and Seville itself casts a spell over the proceedings making The Seville Communion an entertaining way to spend a few hours. --Alix Wilbur
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Classy and brimming with panache" (Independent
"Energetic, atmospheric writing" (Ben Farrington Literary Review
"Recounted with panache and subtlety, The Seville Communion
is one of those infrequent whodunnits that transcend the genre" (Time
"A beautifully and intricately written noir in which unique plots and counterplots abound" (San Francisco Examiner