Adding to the tension, the Pope is in failing health and many ambitious clergy are starting to scheme as they anticipate a Papal election in the near future—and Father Dominic’s mission will be disrupted by nefarious plans. The lively pace never gets bogged down nor moves too fast to follow. If readers have enjoyed previous books in the series, they already have a good working knowledge of the main and supporting characters; however this entry remains inviting for newcomers, as the authors deftly clarify motives, intentions, and relationships throughout without slowing down an exciting plot. That story builds into a mystery, as Father Dominic must work out which faction is behind an effort to purloin the documents and why: enemies within the Vatican who want to embarrass Father Dominic and expose his true relationship with the Pope? The mega-church preacher who is coincidentally building a "museum" to house important religious artifacts?
Each of the many possibilities is tantalizing and entertaining, adding to the tension. Like the others in the series, The Galileo Gambit is impressively researched and informative, dishing out engaging history without a whiff of a lecture. The "Fiction, Fact or Fusion” afterword is a great addition for readers fascinated by the history and references or tempted to try to nitpick.
Takeaway: Superior thriller of Vatican intrigue and centuries-old documents.
Comparable Titles: Glen Cooper, Steve Berry.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
Returning for another Father Michael Dominic story, Gary McAvoy dazzles once more. As McAvoy utilises the insights of Ronald L. Moore to enrich the story, the reader is treated to another stunning story, steeped in history, religious perspective, and thrilling development. When Father Dominic is invited to Chicago to attend a legal conference with a modern retrying of Galileo for heresy against the Catholic Church, things take a significant turn and old wounds are opened once more. With more enemies than Father Dominic can count, the action is sure to grow exponentially as the danger mounts. McAvoy does a stellar job and his foundation is only strengthened by Moore’s addition.
When Father Michael Dominic receives a call about attending a legal conference in Chicago, he is quite excited. As Prefect of the Vatican Secret Archive, he is in possession of many documents the Church holds dear, including a collection of trial documents from Gallileo’s heresy charges, which happens to be the theme of the conference. On the 400th anniversary of the event, Loyola College hopes to reinvigorate the debate into the scientist’s trial and have a new jury pronounce his guilt or innocence.
Travelling with a small retinue, which includes his close friend, Hana Sinclair, Father Dominic makes his way across the Atlantic, hoping that he will be able to see the law in action. Heading up the Church’s case is a bishop for the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith—the modern term for Inquisition—who has a mysterious past and an apparent vendetta. When the documents are stolen, many wonder who could be behind it all and for what means. While the trial is still moving forward, Father Dominic cannot spend too much time worrying, as he is pulled in other middle of a blindsiding cross-examination. It appears this is meant more to discredit him than prove the Gallileo angle. With a photo being scandalously misinterpreted and Father Dominic’s parentiage the fodder for gathering gossip, he finds himself caught in a web.
All the while, the pope’s health is deteriorating back in Rome and it may only be a short tie before he is gone. He worries for Father Dominic, watching events unfold in Chicago. Tossed into the mix is a televangelist who will stop at nothing to get his hands on some of the valuable Galileo artifacts, in order to show his own perspective on Catholic handling of religious events over the years. All while the collection from the Vatican remains lost. Someone lurks in the shadows with a plan that could bring Father Dominic and the Vatican to its knees. A stunning story that keeps McAvoy and Moore in the driver’s seat, while series fans are left to wonder what could be next.
There have been few series that have captivated my attention like Gary McAvoy’s Vatican Archives. Over the years, I have slowly been introduced to the likes of Father Michael Dominic, Hana Sinclair, as well as a core group, all of whom find themselves on many adventures around the world, pertaining to secret items within the Vatican’s archives. The authors keep the narrative moving effectively and provide wonderful pathways to strong storytelling through this foundation. The characters, many of whom are returning from book to book, enrich the story with their own development, while others continue to cast shadows of deception and doubt. This provides great contrast and allows the author to keep the thrills high. While the plot twists are many, the core struggle is clear from the outset, matched with some historic event that is retold and explained through the modern lens. McAvoy and Moore do a fabulous job pulling history and moder interpretations together, allowing the reader to bask in the best aspects of both. At the heart of it all is the trial, which takes a few liberties, but pushes someone of the tenets raised by the Church all those years ago, while turning things into a Kangaroo Court to destroy Father Domenic. As I have said before, these books are less about the inculcation of religious beliefs on the reader than showing how the power of the Church and Christianity can still bend people in certain direction. A formidable addition to the series that has me wanting more and to see just how Father Dominic will handle some of his most recent struggles.