Title: The Virgin of the Wind Rose
Author: Glen Craney
Genre: Historical Thriller
While investigating the murder of an American missionary in Ethiopia, rookie State Department lawyer Jaqueline Quartermane becomes obsessed with a magical word square found inside an underground church guarding the tomb of the biblical Adam.
Drawn into a web of esoteric intrigue, she and a roguish antiquities thief named Elymas must race an elusive and taunting mastermind to find the one relic needed to resurrect Solomon’s Temple. A trail of cabalistic clues leads them to the catacombs of Rome, the crypt below Chartres Cathedral, a Masonic shaft in Nova Scotia, a Portuguese shipwreck off Sumatra, and the caverns under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Intertwined with this modern mystery-thriller, a parallel duel is waged:
The year is 1452. One of the most secretive societies in history, Portugal’s Order of Christ, is led by a reclusive visionary, Prince Henry the Navigator. He and his medieval version of NASA merged with the CIA scheme to foil their archenemies, the Inquisitor Torquemada and Queen Isabella of Castile, who plan to bring back Christ for the Last Judgment by ridding the world of Jews, heretics, and unbelievers.
Separated by half a millennium, two conspiracies to usher in the Tribulations promised by the Book of Revelation dovetail in this fast-paced thriller to expose the world’s most explosive secret: The true identity of Christopher Columbus and the explorer’s connection to those now trying to spark the End of Days.
MY TAKE ON T V O T W R:
A marvelous piece of fiction which makes me realize that creativity has no bounds. How much ever I read, I will always come across something which will leave me bewildered thinking that there is still so much yet unknown to me.
The story progresses in two different timelines- present and the past. Two parallel stories moving across different landscapes which tend to converge and meet at the end.
During the process of retrieving the dead body of her fiancée, Jaqueline Quartermane stumbles upon a puzzle of a magical word square which opens a maze of mysteries to untangle. Helped by a roguish antiquities thief named Elymas, she sets upon a quest of finding a relic which is believed to resurrect Solomon’s Temple.
This quest of Jacqueline is exquisitely interlaced with series of events, which took place in the time period when kingdoms in Europe were under the wave of discovering new sea-routes to the unknown lands; crossing new limits of seas and oceans beyond and kingdoms competing amongst each other for sending a fleet of ships to faraway places.
Honestly, the fascinating history put into this book didn’t allow me to focus on the characters completely. However, there were few strong points of these characters, which need to be mentioned.
Jacqueline came out as an intelligent girl who was firm in her beliefs. With a quick grasping power and acute observational skills, she was able to reason out the relation between the mysteries.
Elymas, on the other hand, was a daredevil; a challenger with a sharp mind and quick thinking. Though his beliefs and thoughts were quite contrary to Jacqueline’s, still he didn’t waver from helping her throughout. These traits show his strong will and loyalty.
To be honest, I wasn’t able to get the hang of the book initially. I couldn’t get the head and tail of it as it was about that part of history, which I hadn’t known well. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop me from reading the book. Why? Because though I was a little confused, I felt a definite pull. For me, it was the same feeling which one feels while walking in a dark cave where you are not able to see anything clearly but still keep on venturing further inside in the hope of finding something wonderful.
An impressive confluence of two tales. I loved the intertwining of two separate stories occurring in different timelines. Author has done an immaculate work of inclining the storylines towards each other.
A very exhaustive research has been done while writing this story. It was evident with finer details added in these storylines. It is definitely praiseworthy.
The ending was a total surprise. It shook me a little but it was a good closure.
This is my personal opinion completely. I found the initial stage of the story was slightly taxing. This doesn’t mean that the story was not interesting. I believe that sometimes even interesting things can also become taxing. In the case of this book, although I was interested in it but I had to continuously refer to the history books for a thorough understanding. This didn’t allow me to have a pleasurable read as anticipated.
The thrill quotient was a tad bit low. I think that the disruption in the thrilling experience happened because of the alternate narrations of two different stories.
There were times when I felt that the vocabulary used could have been less complex. The reason why I have put it under ‘Cons’ is because I believe a good story should reach to many, and for that, the language/ usage of words/ level of vocabulary used plays a crucial role. Use of complex words, which are not so common could be a hindrance to the enjoyment of reading.
If you are on a lookout for a novel with a rich influence of history, loads of mystery and traces of romance… rein in your horses right here.
Add it to your TBR @ GOODREADS
Glen Craney is a novelist, screenwriter, journalist, and lawyer. The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences awarded him the Nicholl Fellowship prize for best new screenwriting. He is also a two-time indieBRAG Medallion Honoree, a Chaucer Award First-Place Winner for Historical Fiction set during the Middle Ages and has three times been named a Foreword Reviews Book-of-the-Year Award Finalist. His debut novel, The Fire and the Light, was recognized as Best New Fiction by the National Indie Excellence Awards and as an Honorable Mention winner for Foreword’s BOTYA in historical fiction. His novels have taken readers to Occitania during the Albigensian Crusade, to the Scotland of Robert Bruce, to Portugal during the Age of Discovery, to the trenches of France during World War I, and to the American Hoovervilles of the Great Depression. He lives in southern California.