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L'ultimo Catone

(Catón #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  7,777 ratings  ·  505 reviews
A raccontare tutto con voce rotta dall'emozione è Suor Ottavia Salina, in fatto di paleografia massima autorità dell'Archivio Segreto del Vaticano. Un giorno, mentre è china su una ruvida pergamena, viene convocata urgentemente dalle più alte gerarchie pontificie che le affidano un compito di estrema segretezza. Suor Ottavia è l'unica persona al mondo in grado di decifrare ...more
Hardcover, I Romanzi Sonzogno, 483 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by Sonzogno (first published 2001)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,777 ratings  ·  505 reviews

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Jaidee (Away from Goodreads until Feb 2...happy reading)
2.5 "a whole lot of fun, loved the premise, poor execution and middling writing" stars !!

Ok ok ok I enjoyed this book much more than my rating would indicate. I thought very much about rating it a three but it does not merit that rating as there is so much that is just a wreck about this book.

First of all this book could not decide what genre it was...was it a religious thriller, a light adventure, a romantic comedy or a utopian manifesto. I really like books that cross genres cleverly but this
Beth Cato
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have absolutely no interest in The Da Vinci Code or any books of that sort, but I picked this up for two reasons: my last name is Cato, and it was only $2 for a hardcover at the Phoenix VNSA sale. Personally relevant and cheap![return][return]I was pleasantly surprised by this massive book. Once it got going, I was completely snared. The main character, Ottavia, is a high-ranking nun working in the Vatican. She specializes in ancient manuscripts and research, and therefore she's stunned when ...more
Will Byrnes
Doctor Ottavia Salina is a “paleographer” working at the Vatican. Relics of the True Cross from across the world have been disappearing, and an obscure religious order is suspected of collecting them. The pope himself has ordered Salina, together with a big shot in the Swiss Guard and a world-renowned archaeologist to get to the bottom of the disappearances. The trio discovers a connection to Dante’s Divine Comedy, and pursuing clues left in the classic text, they pursue the truth across the ...more
Apr 19, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is along the lines of the DaVinci Code. I learned a lot about the early Christian Church through this book and so I liked the historical aspect. I was a bit turned off when the main character, a nun, falls in love. I really didn't like the ending at all - found it too ridiculous and silly and it ruined the book for me.
Apr 26, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What is with the modern obsession with Dante? There have already been several rather lousy works based on Dante's Inferno, and this adds to that list. It's neither a proper historical thriller nor a very good crime novel. There are elements of fantasy that are a complete let-down. There are improbable protagonists who speak particularly improbably. Either the translation is somewhat lacking or the author's got a tin-ear for conversation. Characters don't so much speak as perorate. There's a nun ...more
Sep 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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, ...more
Paul Pessolano
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The Last Cato” by Matilde Asensi, published by Harper Collins.

Category – Mystery/Thriller Publication Date – March, 2006.

This book is hard to define as to who will like it and who wouldn’t.

The story revolves around the search for the True Cross that Jesus Christ was crucified on. An Ethiopian man is found dead and his body has been scarified. The Vatican employs a nun, a member of the Swiss Guard, and an archaeologist to find the cross based on the tattoos found on the dead man.

The trio finds
Jun 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a delightful historical fantasy. The author allows the reader to experience a literary game played out with Dante's Purgatorio as the rule book and travel guide. While these kinds of conceits frequently produce adventure and action at the expense of interesting characterization, Asensi's characters evolve as interesting and complex human beings. The settings are detailed and richly drawn.

The Last Cato also happens to be an intelligent critique of the Roman Curia as well as a lively
Jan 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
If you like a good puzzle, mystery, or loved The Da Vinci Code, you'll probably enjoy this book. Ottavia Salina is a nun who enjoys a celebrated career working in the Vatican Archives. Her life is a simple and quiet one, until one day she is asked to help decode symbols tattooed on the body of a dead Ethiopian. No one will tell her who he is or what he's done, only that she needs to figure out what the markings on his body mean. It is to be her main priority, and a Swiss Guard Captain, Kaspar ...more
Dec 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OMG! (As any of my grand-daughters would say.) I can not believe I had this on my bookshelves for two years before I read it! I love this book! It is not for everyone. The history is THICK. But the writing is wonderful, the story complicated - so I did not figure it out in the first half as I usually do - and the characters were unusual but believable. This book was originally written in Spanish but is about an Italian family. Yes, that is what I said. And Dante's Divine Comedy is what holds ...more
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is sensational, first one I read from Matilde. The characters fit incredibly with each other and the story itself.
The novel develops in a sort of religious underworld, and the star character guides us through it with the perfect sensibility needed to transport the reader into each of the places and situations that put a veil of doubt in the Catholic Church's "imaginary perfection".
Extremelly recommended.

Prior to reading this novel, for better or worse, I checked a couple of reviews. Most people started by saying "if you liked the Da Vinci code..." which was, to be honest, off putting.

The Da Vinci Code was a poorly written American novel that combined the worst aspects of left and right wingnuttery - antiChristian pomo-paganism and a baseless obsession with conspiracy theories. It only grazed plausibility with loose connections to any facts surrounding the historical characters or groups
Feb 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
oh wow.....The Last Cato had me sitting on the edge of my seat like i was watching a thrilling movie. great story and plot - again this plot made the book! what imagination the author has to write this book. love the tie in with Dante's Divine Comedy. have always been a little bit intrigued by Divine Comedy and this book made me understand it just a little bit more. The characters were all likable and interesting. the adventures had me hanging on a cliff the whole time......could not put the ...more
Paula Howard
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Last Cato is Matilde Asensi's 1st book translated from Spanish into English. I was very impressed with the ease of reading the book. It had a good flow which is often not found in translated books. A job well done.

One of the 1st things the reader notices is that the characters are very much real and live. You feel as if you are there with them. You really begin to interact with them and their feelings.

The Last Cato opens with the murder of an Ethiopian man. What is strange about this
May 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read Iacobus by Matilde Asensi which is really trully amazing. This one may not be amazing but it is still a very good one. Ottavia Salina (her name means the eighth) a paleographer is called by the vatican to take part in a mystery surrounding the disappearance of parts of the holy cross. In her search along with the "rock" a member of the Swiss Guards and a handsome archaeologist, Ottavia faces life changing trials that alter the way she sees the world around her. The same more or less ...more
Nov 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Last Cato by Matilde Aseni was an intriguing and interesting novel. Adventure, intrigue and vast information on the Catholic church, it really was "The Divinci Code" meets "National Treasure". The characters were believable and likeable and their quest was nail-biting as well as laugh out loud funny at times. I felt Ms. Asani's vast knowledge of the Italy, Egypt and Turkey combined with the history of the church and church relics made for a delightful story. Zillions of names of officials ...more
May 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really loved this

And now I want to read Dante's Divine Comedy, of course. I've even researched, briefly, what English translation might be best. From the excerpts in the book, it sounded like a delightful read! A brief investigation into which translation might be best reveals it's way more complicated than I guessed, intimidating even.

As to the book, I checked this out from the Kindle Lending Library two years ago,, sometime in February, 2014. Glad I noticed, two years later (!) and finished
David Schwan
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A nice speculative adventure story in the same vein as a Steve Berry or Dan Brown novel. What is refreshing is that the story revolves around Dante's Divine Comedy, no Templar's, no Grail. A group of three have been tasked with finding some thief's. These three follow a set of clues that leads them on a long trip around the Mediterranean. The ending was a bit unexpected yet really was problably the only viable ending. Well worth reading. I'm hoping the second book will be released in English.
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book the first time I read it, a number of years ago now, and I really liked it again. Now on to the sequel!
Kaitlyn Crozier
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-reads
I LOVE books and my lovely coworker from Argentina recommended this book to me. Id have never picked it myself, because one it was a bit hard to find in English, and two because I was prejudice to reading a book centering around christianity and religion. Im so glad I set my attitude aside and read this book!
Bear in mind this is one of those novels, bit of a historical fiction, that throws information at you excessively in the first hundred pages. I felt my head spinning and feeling so
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had high hopes when starting this book. I thought the DaVinci Code was pretty dumb, but this seemed intelligently written at first, with interesting history I am not very familiar with. But when Dante came up, it started going downhill, even though here we were climbing Mt Purgatorio rather than descending into the Inferno. The characters motivations were weak and just got weaker and sillier. The end is out of a bad science fiction novel. Sadly, my search for an interesting DaVinci Clone ...more
Sara Ramos
I had to stop reading it.
I had been told her books and writing style were similar to Dan Brown's but, needless to say from my rating, I do not agree. I've read the first 100 pages and most of it has felt like waffle, all padding. Thus, after my trying to find it engaging for quite a few while now, I give up. It's a shame, I did think the plot was highly promising and, contrary to many readers, did like the main character.
Angela Adkins
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. I learned so much about the writings of Dante and the Byzantine Empire. Unlike some thrillers, the characters were very well-drawn. The writing was beautiful, and I found myself highlighting a lot of passages for their eloquence and poignancy. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author!
Ari Sarkar
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A highly-strung nun gets involved in a Catholic mystery involving a secret sect and the Vatican. Very enjoyable not least because it is written from the nun's point-of-view, and all her quirks and foibles are brilliantly exposed to the reader. Has resulted in me looking for documentaries and books about Byzantium. Clearly I owe the author a debt of gratitude here.
The story was fine--very much like reading a Dan Brown novel, but with better writing. What drove me nuts was the fact that there were only 7 chapters, but 456 pages. I felt like I wasn't making any progress at all, because it took so long to get to a new chapter.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
To me it was a bit like a damp squib...I expected more and it didn't deliver. The premise was okay but the structure was too fanciful.
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The story and characters were good. However, this book would have been better if it had 100 fewer pages.
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Great read and was difficult to put down! Had many nights where I stayed up later than planned due to reading!
Luis Arturo
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can not remember a lot of this book, but I think it was entertaining, good puzzles and mysteries, and a good ending, I might read it again because I actually enjoyed it!
Nov 07, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Tedious. And the manner in which they stumble through each challenge stretches credibility as their flashes of insight wears a little thin. Very flimsy.
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Matilde Asensi (born 1962 in Alicante, Spain) is a Spanish journalist and writer, who specializes mainly in historical thrillers.

She has more than 20 million readers worldwide and has become the reference of quality bests-sellers in Spanish language. According to the magazine Que Leer she is the ‘Queen of the adventure novels’.

Her books, of an indubitable quality and proven historical

Other books in the series

Catón (2 books)
  • El regreso del Catón (Catón, #2)
“Las cosas hermosas, las obras de arte, los objetos sagrados, sufren, como nosotros, los efectos imparables del paso del tiempo. Desde el mismo instante en que su autor humano, consciente o no de su armonía con el infinito, les pone punto y final y las entrega al mundo, comienza para ellas una vida que, a lo largo de los siglos las acerca también a la vejez y a la muerte. Sin embargo, ese tiempo que a nosotros nos marchita y nos destruye, a ellas les confiere una nueva forma de belleza que la vejez humana no podría siquiera soñar en alcanzar.” 12 likes
“—El arte y la cultura aumentan la armonía, la tolerancia y la comprensión entre las personas” 6 likes
More quotes…