When I was first asked to review this book I thought to myself that it would probably be just another book in the plethora of novels that seem to have hung on to the coat tails of the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Happily this is third book in the Da Vinci Code mould that I have read and I am surprised to say that they are all equally as good, or better than Dan Brown's book.
Many people dismissed the Da Vinci Code as a nonsensical, poorly written book, but to me they are missing the point. As with this book by Steve Berry they are written as entertainment, they are novels and nothing within them should be taken too seriously. The books must be made plausible or the reader will just dismiss them as nonsense.
The Third Secret has everything, travel in Europe, murder, deceit and hidden passion, it is entertaining and thought provoking, but still a work of fiction. It is a well thought out plot designed to entertain and sometimes shock the reader. Just read it for what it is and enjoy it.
on 13 January 2007
Everyone seems to be throwing out books about the Catholic Church since the Da Vinci Code took off. Unlike a few others I actually really enjoyed the Da Vinci Code and being someone who enjoys conspiracy theories I was intrigued when I came across Steve Berry's The Third Secret. Granted it's a work of fiction but there's nothing like a bit of truth to make you wonder exactly where the fiction ends and the truth begins.
The story centers around the third secret of Fatima. Although the third secret of Fatima was released to the world by Pope John Paul II this secret was so different from the other two and so cryptic that many believe there was more to the secret than was published. Conspiracy theorists have even suggested that the real third secret is so shocking and devastating to the Catholic Church that it can never be revealed. Pope Clement XV has spent endless nights in the Vatican Secret Archives reading and re-reading the third secret translation but as the days wear on he becomes more and more withdrawn. He then dispatches Father Colin Michener to track down the author of the translation. What follows is a tale of intrigue, deceit and murder....and with the Vatican involved there's always loads of secrets.
I rank this book slightly above Da Vinci Code as it seems to have more fact and less fiction than Da Vinci. It's a fast paced thriller that will have you turning pages just so you can get to the end and find out what the third secret really is. And what a secret it is!!!! A definite hit!
on 27 May 2010
Books such as this - based around a central secret - often fail when the secret is revealed. Not this one. The book is vastly superior to many others of its type, partly because the ending does justify the build up and partly because the author manages the build up without resorting to endless tiresome and meaningless chases through pictuesque European cities with the main character always just managing to avoid hunters. Books so obviously written with one eye on the possible deal with Spielberg, filled with repetive, wholly unoriginal action sequences are commonplace. This is most certainly a cut above.
seems to be the Vatican and its politics and secrecy. What can top this than a conclave! Centered around the conclave the reader finds an action packed thriller that never slows down. It is a persuasively written, fact based fiction. Of course, The DaVinci Code springs to one's mind but Steven Berry can hold this own among the major thriller writers. I did enjoy reading this book very much. I only rate it with 4 stars because I found the revelation of the third secret a bit flat. But the action till then is superb! Already looking forward to the publication of Berry's 4th book.
This is an immensely entertaining thriller that revolves around the third secret of Fatima, as well as Vatican political intrigues, murder, and mystery. It is a fast-paced, plot driven thriller. So strong is the plot that the fact that the book is short on character development will not disturb the reader one whit. The plot will keep the reader compulsively turning the pages of this skillfully plotted book. While the book may disturb some readers, due to the depiction of some its clerical characters as power hungry and capable of murder, one should keep in mind that this is a work of fiction. Besides, priests are people, too, and, as such they are, no less than the rest of us, subject to temptation.
Central to the plot, is the papal secretary, Monsignor Colin Michener, who has served the elderly Pope Clement XV for many years. They have an almost father-son relationship, and Monsignor Michener has noticed that the Pope has been acting a little strange lately, making numerous visits to the papal archives. It seems that the Pope has become obsessed with the third secret of Fatima, as he has been given some new information related to it. Consequently, he decides to send Monsignor Michener to Romania on a very special mission, as it appears that all is not what it seems.
Meanwhile, back at the Vatican, political intrigues abound, as Cardinal Valendrea, avaricious and power hungry, plots on becoming pope when Pope Clement XV goes to meet his maker. Cardinal Valendrea is extremely conservative and traditional in terms of his agenda for Catholicism. He loathes Pope Clement XV and his stance on many of the issues confronting Catholicism today. He will, therefore, resort to any means necessary to secure that which he most desires. Cardinal Ngovi, the cardinal for Nairobi, on the other hand, represents the new order in Catholicism. He is a close friend of the Pope and is very much aware of Cardinal Valendrea's perfidy and venality. Valendrea and Ngovi represent the two warring factions within the Vatican.
When Monsignor Michener completes his mission to Romania, he is then sent by the Pope to Bosnia, to the village of Medjugorje, the sight of visitations by the Blessed Virgin Mary, where, as with Fatima, there are secrets. He is to speak to one of the seers to whom the visitations were made. Traveling with Monsignor Michener is Katerina Lew, a journalist with whom he has a secret past. As events transpire and secrets unfold, Monsignor Michener finds himself drawn into a conspiratorial web. At the heart of the conspiracy is a secret that will rock the bedrock of Catholicism.
This is work of fiction that is interwoven with historical details and world events. It is a page-turning thriller that will be enjoyed by fans of "The Da VInci Code" and "Angels and Demons", as well as by those who enjoy well-plotted, fast-paced thrillers.
on 10 June 2014
It would be easy to compare Steve Berry’s ‘The Third Secret’ to Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’. Superficially both novels have the same elements: a riddle hidden within a conspiracy promulgated by the Roman Catholic Church which is uncovered by an erudite investigator. On this level I would say both books would score about even. Yet Berry’s novel has far more depth, something that Brown’s effort lacked, substituting it for a controversial, albeit not original, theory with which we are all familiar. Not that ‘The Third Secret’ isn’t controversial; on the contrary, it contains far more food for thought than Brown’s novel. This is especially true in the denouement where the puzzle is solved and its consequences examined. If you are a staunch Catholic not used to challenging the dogma offered by your religion, this will probably offend you. For the more open-minded, however, Berry tackles the issues with mastery. Remember, this is a work of fiction above all else, yet fiction writers throughout history have used their prose to highlight social issues – check out the works of Charles Dickens if you don’t believe me.
For someone who has done in-depth research on the history of the Vatican and the Catholic Church for my own novels, Steve Berry’s handling of the vast amount of information, and the way in which this is presented to the reader, is masterful. There are none of the long, convoluted information dumps, so favoured by Brown, which would otherwise interfere with the pace of the novel. Instead we have a potboiler in both a literal and figurative sense as the tension and rhythm of the tale is steadily ramped up from the beginning until the solid climax is reached.
I would strongly recommend the reader to peruse Steve Berry’s author’s note at the end of the tale as this will put the novel into a context they may not suspect.
on 14 March 2012
This book was my first attempt at reading any 'conspiracy fiction' on the market, other then the obviously exception to Mr Dan Brown, the author that probably brought most of us to this genre in the first place.
Alot of reviews have compared these two authors in their reviews, and with good reason, however, if you are one of the few people who takes that negatively, then please dont let that stop you reading this book, i can assure you its well worth it (which is a phrase i used when asked ' really, 2 days of your holiday taken up reading that?' by the old ball and chain)
As for insights into the book, you would be better reading the other reviews, but please dont take the 1 starred reviews to literally, they nearly put me off too
also try 'the amber room' by the same author, another good 'by the pool' read x
on 8 August 2005
Excellent, well written, fast moving story. If you enjoyed Dan Browns books you will surely enjoy this author as they deal with similar topics (church cover ups) in a similar style. The story follows a catholic priest investigations into the secrets reviled at Fatima.
Bear in mind that this is a work of fiction and as such allows the author licence to adapt and manipulate information already in the public sphere. It is not trying to be a definite guide just a cracking good read which will entertain.
on 27 December 2011
If you know nothing about the Vatican and how the Pope is elected then this book will be a rich source of information for you. However, if you are lucky enough to have visited Rome or even just watched Angels and Demons then you will know all the factual information that this book offers. That is in all honestly the only positive aspect of this book. The story is far fetched and not substantial enough to really deserve the 400 pages. The story is slow mainly due to the lack of material to fill the pages. I found this book extremely slow in reading and just getting to the end was a real work of determination. Not for me this one