Co-writer of The Rule of Four, Caldwell pens an intriguing mystery surrounding two brothers and the Shroud of Turin, the cloth believed to have covered Christ’s body in the tomb. The novel is set in 2004, and begins on the property of the Vatican. Father Alexander Andreou, an Eastern Catholic priest with a young son, receives an urgent phone call one evening from his brother Simon, a Roman Catholic priest, who begs Alex to “pick him up before the police do…” When he arrives at Castel Gandolfo, Alex finds Simon standing over the dead body of their mutual friend,Ugo Nogara, who was working on an exhibit for the Vatican Museum, whose focus was the Shroud. The mystery of Ugo’s death is just one piece of the puzzle, which widens to include the Crusades, Pope John Paul II’s dying wish, the Orthodox Church and the four Gospels of the New Testament.
The Fifth Gospel is fast-paced, and provides a fictional look inside Vatican politics for the curious reader.