'The Fifth Gospel is that rare story: erudite and a page-turner, literary but compulsively readable' David Baldacci
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. 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. 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 ...
'A beguiling thriller' Sunday Times
'Page-turning' Irish Independent
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.