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I've just finished reading this and what a load of rubbish the book was! I only picked it up in the charity shop because one of the quotes on the back said that The Third Secret was a more exciting version of The Da Vince Code but it's not.
Most of the story takes place in the Vatican, Pope Clement XV is looking in to some secrets that have been revealed to various 'seers' by the Virgin Mary. These secrets are so explosive that they are locked away in a special secure room in the Vatican, a room that only popes are allowed to visit. The book concentrates on the Papal Secretary who is called Colin Mitchener. He has worked under Clement before he was the pope and sees him as a friend as well as his religious leader.
Colin is the only person the pope trusts to find out the third secret (and also the 10th secret but that will just confuse things! LOL!) and eventually he discovers what all the hype is about.
The problem for me was that the book is over 400 pages to plod though, and then when you get to the end of the story and the secret is revealed it's such a boring secret that I wondered why it was even a secret in the first place!
The characters are all written good and most of them are likeable. The only one I wasn't keen on was Katrina Lew, she is Colin's old girlfriend from before he became a priest and comes from Romania. She is a temping journalist but hasn't had much luck and to be honest her mind is so closed to any talk of religion that I can't see why she was even sent to cover news at the Vatican.
Colin Michener is a nice character. For a priest he doesn't take life too seriously but still has his conciense, he questions his faith a lot and seems to struggle with it. I think the author was trying to make him seem more human than the other priests and cardinals in the book and that worked, even though this was a mega boring read I can't fault this main character at all.
Reading this book just enforced to be how completely bonkers most of the very pious Catholics are!!! And I have sat through a 3 hour Catholic wedding before so I didn't need much convincing of this fact. Sorry any Catholics reading!
"The Third Secret" by Steve Berry appeared on my recommended list on Amazon (makes a change from the entire Robert Ludlum catalogue) and it had been highly rated by other users so I took a chance on it.
The background to the story relates to Marian sightings, primarily at Fatima but it also touches on others. At Fatima, in 1917 Our Lady appeared to three peasant children over a period of months. During these visions three secret were revealed. Two of the secrets were revealed in 1941 however, the third secret was written and sealed with an instruction it was not to be opened until 1960 when its meaning would be clearer. However the third secret was not released until 2000 (in real life). At the time there was a lot of speculation that it was not the true third secret as the message it contained did not appear worthy of such secrecy.
Steve Berry picks up the story before the third secret has been revealed. He focuses on internal politics within the Vatican and the struggle to learn the secret which only the current Pope has access to.
Books like this will inevitably be likened to Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" but I would say it was closer in a lot of ways to Brown's "Angels and Demons". To be honest I didn't enjoy this book as much as either of those but that's a fairly high benchmark to compare them against.
The story was a good one but I found it far-fetched in a lot of places and things happened which are so far removed from the real world they disappointed. I am not referring to the visions here more the actions of almost every clergyman! The characters were a little bit simplified as well. You had the pure hearted Pope against the evil next-in-line. These characters were very black and white with the odd exception.
However, I thought the ending of the book was very clever. Often with this type of story the author gets backed into a corner and ends the book with something way out of leftfield. I have to hand it to Steve Berry, the ending was excellent and far more in line with the real world than I expected.
Its not a long novel at 396 pages and it is easy to read over 100 pages in a session. I would recommend it if you are interested in Marian visions. Steve Berry's research seems meticulous and you certainly learn a lot. However, as a thriller I would say it is fairly run of the mill, but I am glad I read it.