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The Fifth Gospel

Cover of The Fifth Gospel

The Fifth Gospel

A Novel
In Ian Caldwell's masterful follow-up to his international sensation The Rule of Four, a lost gospel, a contentious relic, and a dying pope's final wish converge to send two brothers—both Vatican priests—on an intellectual quest to untangle Christianity's greatest historical mystery.
Ten years ago, Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason's The Rule of Four became a literary phenomenon that earned comparisons to Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose and Donna Tartt's The Secret History. Hailed as "ingenious...profoundly erudite" (The New York Times), "compulsively readable" (People), and "an exceptional piece of scholarship" (San Francisco Chronicle), it spent forty-nine weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, sold nearly two million copies in North America, and was translated into thirty-five languages around the world. Now, after a decade of painstaking primary research, Ian Caldwell returns with a new intellectual thriller that confirms his place among the most ambitious popular storytellers working today.

In 2004, as Pope John Paul II's reign enters its twilight, a mysterious exhibit is under construction at the Vatican Museums. A week before it is scheduled to open, its curator is murdered at a clandestine meeting on the outskirts of Rome. The same night, a violent break-in rocks the home of the curator's research partner, Father Alex Andreou, a Greek Catholic priest who lives inside the Vatican with his five-year-old son. When the papal police fail to identify a suspect in either crime, Father Alex, desperate to keep his family safe, undertakes his own investigation. To find the killer he must reconstruct the dead curator's secret: what the four Christian gospels—and a little-known, true-to-life fifth gospel known as the Diatessaron—reveal about the Church's most controversial holy relic. But just as he begins to understand the truth about his friend's death and its consequences for the future of the world's two largest Christian Churches, Father Alex finds himself hunted down by someone with vested stakes in the exhibit—someone he must outwit to survive.

At once a riveting literary thriller, a feast of biblical history and scholarship, and a moving family drama, The Fifth Gospel is a novel about the depths of sacrifice and the power of forgiveness. Rich, authentic, erudite, and emotionally searing, it satisfies on every level.
In Ian Caldwell's masterful follow-up to his international sensation The Rule of Four, a lost gospel, a contentious relic, and a dying pope's final wish converge to send two brothers—both Vatican priests—on an intellectual quest to untangle Christianity's greatest historical mystery.
Ten years ago, Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason's The Rule of Four became a literary phenomenon that earned comparisons to Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose and Donna Tartt's The Secret History. Hailed as "ingenious...profoundly erudite" (The New York Times), "compulsively readable" (People), and "an exceptional piece of scholarship" (San Francisco Chronicle), it spent forty-nine weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, sold nearly two million copies in North America, and was translated into thirty-five languages around the world. Now, after a decade of painstaking primary research, Ian Caldwell returns with a new intellectual thriller that confirms his place among the most ambitious popular storytellers working today.

In 2004, as Pope John Paul II's reign enters its twilight, a mysterious exhibit is under construction at the Vatican Museums. A week before it is scheduled to open, its curator is murdered at a clandestine meeting on the outskirts of Rome. The same night, a violent break-in rocks the home of the curator's research partner, Father Alex Andreou, a Greek Catholic priest who lives inside the Vatican with his five-year-old son. When the papal police fail to identify a suspect in either crime, Father Alex, desperate to keep his family safe, undertakes his own investigation. To find the killer he must reconstruct the dead curator's secret: what the four Christian gospels—and a little-known, true-to-life fifth gospel known as the Diatessaron—reveal about the Church's most controversial holy relic. But just as he begins to understand the truth about his friend's death and its consequences for the future of the world's two largest Christian Churches, Father Alex finds himself hunted down by someone with vested stakes in the exhibit—someone he must outwit to survive.

At once a riveting literary thriller, a feast of biblical history and scholarship, and a moving family drama, The Fifth Gospel is a novel about the depths of sacrifice and the power of forgiveness. Rich, authentic, erudite, and emotionally searing, it satisfies on every level.
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About the Author-
  • Ian Caldwell is the coauthor of The Rule of Four, which spent forty-nine weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, sold nearly 2 million copies in North America, and was translated into thirty-five languages. He lives in Virginia with his wife and children.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 12, 2015
    Caldwell follows 2004’s The Rule of Four (cowritten with Dustin Thomason) with another superior religious thriller, notable for its existential and spiritual profundity. Set in 2004 in and around the Vatican, the story revolves around two brothers: Alex Andreou, a married Greek Catholic priest who’s estranged from his wife and lives with his five-year-old son; and Simon Andreou, a Roman Catholic priest who works as a diplomat. Both brothers are involved with a controversial museum exhibit involving the Shroud of Turin. Dr. Ugolino Nogara claims that he has proven that the carbon tests dating the shroud to the medieval period are wrong, and that it is indeed the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. When the exhibit’s curator is found murdered and Simon is arrested, Alex sets out to find the truth—and becomes entangled in a grand-scale conspiracy that could resurrect a “poisonous ancient hatred.” An intelligent and deeply contemplative writing style, along with more than a few bombshell plot twists, set this one above the pack, but it’s the insightful character development that makes this redemptive story so moving. Agent: Jennifer Joel, ICM.

  • AudioFile Magazine Whether delivering accents or portraying characters of both genders, narrator Jack Davenport is everyone all at once in Ian Caldwell's Vatican-based thriller. Two brothers, Alex, a Greek Catholic priest, and Simon, a Roman Catholic priest-diplomat, are swept up in a maelstrom of Church politics, conspiracies, manipulation, and murder. The brothers hope to heal the schism between Eastern and Roman Catholicism, thanks to the reemergence of an ancient manuscript, the Diatessaron. However, the manuscript casts doubt upon the Church's most holy relic, the Shroud of Turin. Davenport offers a nuanced narration whether delivering Simon's secretive manner or Alex's pragmatic one. He highlights Vatican intrigue, clerical infighting, and, most appealingly, tenderness and familial love. Caldwell's uncluttered, thoughtful writing and Davenport's performance make worthwhile listening. S.J.H. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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The Fifth Gospel
The Fifth Gospel
A Novel
Ian Caldwell
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