The setting is modern Rome, but the crimes relate to an ancient cult hidden deep beneath the eternal city. Valentina Morassi, newly made captain of the Carabinieri, is aided by former priest and friend, Tom Shaman, in investigating a series of baffling crimes.
A young woman claiming to be an ancient prophetess named Cassandra is found on the streets of Rome covered in blood and carrying a sword. A severed hand is found in the famous “Mouth of Truth”, but whoever it belongs to, it doesn’t match the blood on Cassandra.
The young woman herself is of little help to the investigation, as she suffers from multiple personalities, some of which are afraid of others. Cassandra is just the beginning of the puzzle, which includes ancient symbols, dismembered bodies, eunuchs and a hidden world in the caverns beneath the city.
Tom and Valentina begin to realize the scope of what they are confronting – a cult that is ancient in its beliefs and brutal in its practices. But is it actually what it seems, or is it a cover for something even more evil?
The complexity of the case - the personal relationships of the characters, in particular Valentina’s issues with her boss in the Carabinieri, the details of the ancient beliefs and pagan places of worship in and under Rome - all lift The Rome Prophecy above the morass of the countless Da Vinci Code-style thrillers on the market.
While my attention wavered at times, in the end perseverance paid off when the truth of Cassandra’s cult was revealed. Things may not be stranger than they first seem, but they may indeed be much more depraved and premeditated.
Kerry Hennigan © July 2011.