In THE SOURCE, Thomas—twenty-eight, single, and disillusioned with his career in finance—quits his job and goes to Rome to visit his Uncle Willsley, who makes his living recovering stolen art. Willsley had once invited Thomas to join his business, and Thomas is curious to see if that path might still be an option. Thomas’s hope for a new direction evaporates when he sees his uncle’s ramshackle gallery, but his disappointment is assuaged when he meets Willsley’s stunning assistant, Arianna. A string of romantic disappointments has left her jaded, however, and his attempts to impress her fall flat, further deepening his sense of personal crisis.
When the trio discover a mysterious manuscript that is being smuggled into Rome, Willsley jumps at the chance to stop a crime and show Thomas the greater good of his work. The smugglers, however, are not the typical thieves and unscrupulous collectors that Willsley knows how to handle. Forced to flee from shadowy killers, the trio race across Europe and the Middle East, trying not to let their personal conflicts derail their efforts to gather clues and stay alive. Thomas, inspired by Arianna’s actions and resilience, realizes that he needs to take charge of his life. Their chances of survival get a boost when they are joined by Carlo, a Vatican manuscript restorer who switches his allegiance to support their cause. What they discover about who is after them and the profound theological importance of the manuscript sets them on a final, desperate course to keep it from being hidden away forever. The ordeal provides each of them a chance to find what they truly seek—a new direction for Thomas, justice for Willsley, love for Arianna, and, for Carlo, a restoration of faith. One of them, however, will be forced to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the others.
Plot: This story has a little bit of everything: adventure, history, romance, and humor. The plot moves quickly, showcases intriguing characters, and shares enough history to give it depth.
Prose/Style: The language used in this story is clear and easy to understand. The story flows smoothly, even with the switches between narrators.
Originality: The story itself is original, but the tropes here are reminiscent of and feel inspired by The Da Vinci Code.
Character Development/Execution: The main characters develop throughout the story by bonding through their adventures. The protagonist demonstrates personal growth that manifests through his increased courage and independence.
Date Submitted: April 06, 2021