Lowed's Reviews > The Last Cato

The Last Cato by Matilde Asensi
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Dec 06, 2010

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Read from September 08 to 19, 2010

Sister Ottavia Salina is a doctor of paleography, the director of the Vatican's Classified Archives, and a member of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She spends her days interpreting centuries-old documents only a handful of people have ever seen. When the body of an Ethiopian man covered with tattoos of crosses and Greek letters is discovered, the Vatican summons Dr. Salina to a private meeting. Given only the sparest of details about the events surrounding the Ethiopian man's death, Ottavia is ordered to discover the origins of and meaning behind the strange tattoos. There to help her with her interpretation are Captain Glauser-Röist ("The Rock," as Ottavia calls him, is the captain of the Vatican's elite Swiss Guard) and Farag Boswell, a half-English, half-Arabian archaeologist working in Alexandria.

It isn't long before the trio discovers that the strange tattoos of crosses and Greek letters link the corpse to the Staurofilakes, a secret brotherhood dedicated to protecting the "True Cross," the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. Over the years, fragments of the Cross have passed out of their reach, to churches all over Europe. Now, the Staurofilakes are stealing the fragments of the Cross back, using any means necessary to fulfill the long-ago oath they made to protect it. One of the Staurofilakes' most prominent members was Dante Alighieri, and Ottavia and her team soon realize that Dante hid secrets about the Staurofilakes in the text of 'The Divine Comedy,' his greatest work. These secrets will take Ottavia, The Rock, and Farag through the seven levels of Purgatory (each level representing one of the seven deadly sins) and to seven ancient cities in Europe (Rome, Pride; Ravenna, Envy; Jerusalem, Anger; Athens, Sloth; Constantinople, Greed; Alexandria, Gluttony; and Antioch, Lust). If they can survive the Staurofilakes' tests, they will earn entrance into the Earthly Paradise--and hopefully discover the whereabouts of the missing True Cross for the Vatican.

That being said, the book has a comment on the front cover stating: "this book does for Dante what Brown's novel did for da Vinci." What caught my attention really was the bold lettered text above the front cover saying ~INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER~. I gave this a three star because of a very weak translation. Though well- researched and densely plotted, the story telling itself lags sometimes.

The truth of the matter really is that I may well be categorized as one of those people who has grown tired of biblical mystery themed literature. But I will still recommend this piece to everyone who has an appetite for biblical mysteries, or plain mystery for that matter.
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message 1: by K.D. (new)

K.D. Absolutely Great review, Lowed!

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