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The Magdalene Deception

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  81 ratings  ·  39 reviews
A forbidden secret . . .

The Church’s fate in the balance . . .

Will a pair of amateur sleuths expose a truth that could upend the Christian world? 

Jesus’ resurrection is a cornerstone of Christian faith. But when a clue surfaces that hints at an alternate account, the ramifications stand to change Christianity forever.

Jesuit priest Michael Dominic’s assignment to the Vatica
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published July 1st 2020 by Literati Editions
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Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  81 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reedsy-arc
First and foremost, a large thank you to Reedsy Discovery and Gary McAvoy for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Always a fan of novels with Catholic and/or historical twists, this book by Gary McAvoy caught my eye as soon as I found it. Michael Dominic grew up in United States, without a father but under the watchful eye of one of the most powerful men in the Catholic Church. Having finished his seminary studies and been ordained
Jun 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a Vatican thriller with a believable storyline. The plot builds very slowly with intense action scenes near its conclusion. It is rich or dense (depending on the readers' reaction) with historic facts and speculations, making the story highly credible. Frequently pausing in my reading, I often consulted Wikipedia and Google which caused me to highly admire the author's scholarly knowledge and historical research. It was well-written but could have used some more lighter moments.

Aug 16, 2020 rated it liked it
McAvoy has done a good job of weaving a fictional story into historical events. The descriptions of locations are detailed, allowing readers to get a very good sense of the setting. The characters are well developed, providing an essential aspect to an engaging novel. Unfortunately, the egalley I read did not have an author's note indicating which parts of the novel were, in fact, based on history and which were the author's imagination.

Readers who like speculative plots based on possible ancie
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book really surprised me, in a pleasant way. It has such a plausible story and is truly believable. It goes into great detail/background and provides a lot of historical information in an interesting way that ties into the story. Thanks to NetGalley and Gary McAvoy for the ARC
Jeanne Jabour
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I haven't read a novel that was so intriguing, fascinating, thrilling, edge-of-your-seat exciting, and historically accurate and informative in a very long time. The main protagonists are Michael Dominic, a priest transferred to the Vatican to work in their Secret Archives due to his expertise in medieval paleography and codicology, and ancient documents and texts; and, Hana Sinclair, a journalist and cousin to one of the Vatican Guards Michael befriends. In the course of h
Matt McAvoy
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Exquisitely written and highly entertaining, The Magdalene Deception is an investigative mystery in a very similar vein to The DaVinci Code, as a young, ambitious priest from New York starts a dream job as a Vatican digital archivist. In the course of his work he finds an ancient artefact which threatens the entire Catholic Church and sends him on an ominous quest, along with a feisty journalist investigating the Vatican’s corrupt complicity in the possession of Nazi gold, cruelly looted and lau ...more
Santino Decaro
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Secret Vatican manuscripts, what could be better?

If like me you find the concept of secret, mysterious Vatican archives and a long tumultuous religious history, mixed with strong characters and moral dilemmas interesting than this books is for you!!

This book focuses on father Michael Dominic, an American priest, who is an expert in middle age writings and his new posting as an archivist in the Vatican archives. The book spends a lot of time building on Dominic’s character, which I have to say I
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
Received this book thru the Giveaways for an honest review.
The story revolves around a young priest, Michael Dominic, who is working at the Vatican as a digital archivist and he discovers an old document that could shake the church to his foundations. This is in the same genre as the DaVinci Code and I really enjoyed it.
Father Dominic was brought up in the Catholic church as his single mother was the housekeeper for a priest who became his mentor. His mentor is now a high ranking
Gregory R.
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A mythic legend, Jesus’ resurrection, Holocaust Jewish gold, the French resistance, Nazis, Vatican palace intrigue, smoldering nascent romance, high tech and action — what more could you ask for in a novel?

This is one of those books you starting reading in the evening and decide to skip work the next day so you can read all night. This a masterful blend of real history and what-if present day. I found myself several times putting down the book so I could do an online search just to confirm what
Jun 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller
An absorbing thriller, The Magdalene Deception enjoys the subtle touch of a consummate storyteller. As Father Michael Dominic and Hana Sinclair, an investigative reporter for Le Monde, search for secret documents relating to Vatican blackmail payments, they confront challenges from within the Vatican.

Gary McAvoy writes a complicated story with complex characters and authentic relationships. He weaves comprehensive research throughout the story to keep information about the secret’s importance an
Christy Martin
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. The plots are better than most of the conspiracy theory books and the characters more believable and well developed. Yes, there were 2 plots and the author did a great job of intertwining them into one outstanding story.

The first plot of course explores the Magdalene and Rennes le Chateau. The second plot explores the Vatican involvement in the escape of Nazi war criminals and the long kept gold and money that the Vatican stored for the Nazi government. Much of the story as t
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Religion and Politics May Not Make Polite Conversation, But They're Great Topics For Thrillers

Lovers of ancient mystery-themed thrillers like Dan Brown's will love this book!

I really enjoyed reading The Magdalene Deception, the first work I've read by this author. He's an excellent writer and his well-researched fluency with the history, science, and procedures supporting many facets of the story made it an intellectually stimulating read as well as an immensely satisfying suspense thriller.

Sep 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, reviews
A friend recommended this book to me because both of us really enjoy Dan Brown and James Rollins.

The main character, Father Michael, is relatively new to the Vatican. He stumbles across some old letters in the archives that contain a secret so scandalous that, if exposed, could destroy the very foundation of the Catholic church and the faith of many.

In his quest to validate the claims someone higher up in the Vatican finds out about Father Michael’s discovery and is intent on stopping the inform
Lisa Chan
Jun 07, 2020 rated it liked it
With this book I felt there was a LOT of build up, a lot of backstory, and a lot of intricate information that may or may not have been pertinent to the story. Once you got into the meat of the story, however, it pulls you in a bit more.

I really enjoyed getting to “visit” the Vatican and learn a little more about what life is like there. The descriptions were vivid and I could feel the heat and humidity outside, and the cool temperature of the archives within the stone walls.

What I didn’t enjo
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
It was certainly different than I expected from reading the blurb. Overall, it was a good story but I wanted and expected a little more action. I felt like there was too much description of the characters background. Also, I was a little disappointed with their decisions in the end. It didn't seem fair after everything that happened.

I got a free Kindle copy of the book from Book Sirens.
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, 2020, netgalley
I received an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for honest feedback. Thank you.

This book was absolutely fantastic. The subject matter was clearly well-researched, and the characters compelling, and I like that the author didn't take the "easy way out" as the characters developed their chemistry. The first couple of chapters were slower paced than what you'd find in a typical thriller, but I don't count that as a bad thing. It was clear the author was taking time to shape what the reader
Woodsoon Overbaugh
Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thought provoking book

This book accelerates right along to a fitting climax. Being a Christian the topic is interesting to explore, and I will be waiting to see where Gary takes the series next.
Toni Simpson
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great Adventure

Loved this book with it's historical influences. If you like Dan Brown's books, you'll feel right at home. Twists and turns as Hana and Michael work to decide how to handle the information they've uncovered. Even the devoted can understand their situation.
Michelle Whitham (curled_up_with_a_good_book)
This is a fantastic novel full of conspiracy, suspense and fantastic characters.

When Michael finds the document that starts everything off, he definitely wasn’t prepared for what was to come! A fantastic character, I love that he’s a little rebellious and does things he shouldn’t, even if it does get him into some situations! At times I really felt for him as it’s clear that he has an internal battle on his hands – especially when there is clearly an attraction to Hanna! Also, with everything he
Darius Ostrowski
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
I admit to being a fan of “Vatican secrets” thrillers – the concept of this vast church hiding secrets throughout history is one conspiracy source that’s always fun to speculate about. From Sean Chercover to Luis Miguel Rocha to Juan Gomez-Jurado to even Dan Brown, I have enjoyed many thrillers set in the Holy See.

So I was really looking forward to “The Magdalene Deception” by Gary McAvoy. The premise promises to be right up my alley – the Vatican hiding a first-century manuscript that reveals t
Jul 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This well-written novel by Gary McAvoy, is a historical thriller about Vatican secrets, duplicitous operatives, stolen WWII gold and ancient manuscripts.

Father Michael Dominic has been newly assigned as Scrittore, or assistant archivist, in the Secret Archives of the Vatican. An exciting opportunity for a young paleographer; to actually have access to so many archaic parchments at his disposal is a dream come true. Handsome and very approachable, Father Dominic is soon introduced to Hana Sinclai
J.G. Harlond
Having read the fascinating study of the Cathars, 'Montaillou' by Le Roy Ladurie and books about Mary Magdalene, I was keen to read this novel. As an avid historical fiction reader, I turned to the back page, not to read the ending of the story (I never do this) but to read the ‘Author’s Note’, where writers say something about their research and reasons for writing. To my surprise, the only citations were two references to Wikipedia. This meant I began the story with serious doubts: Wikipedia i ...more
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine a document so shocking that it could turn Christianity on its head. That's what the heart of The Magdalene Deception is about. A priest working in the secret archives of the Vatican stumbles upon some hidden documents that leads him on an adventure that turns out to be very dangerous. From the Vatican to Rennes Les Chateau, Father Dominic and Hana make the find of a lifetime.

I will admit, it does start out a little slow while McAvoy lays the foundations for this story, but when it gets
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, signed-copy, fiction, tour
A compelling spin on the Rennes-les-Chateau mystery, this novel ties Berenger Sauniere’s secrets to the Cathars. When Father Michael Dominic arrives at the Vatican as an archivist, he stumbles upon some intriguing material in the Secret Archives. Meanwhile, reporter Hana Sinclair is researching plundered Nazi gold and the Vatican’s involvement in concealing it in its bank. When the two meet, their seemingly unrelated pursuits make them unlikely allies. As they uncover more secrets and the source ...more
Marcia Burke
Jul 05, 2020 rated it liked it
First and foremost I have to say that I am a Christian and I do believe emphatically in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As a work of fiction I found the book to be a very well written, well researched, absorbing, entertaining and intriguing story.

The story revolves around a priest, Michael Dominic who through his position to categorize and archive documents in the Vatican library discovers something which could potentially turn the world of Christianity upside down.

The story is written aroun
Jul 04, 2020 rated it liked it
This book has an interesting (fictional) premise: What would happen to worldwide Christianity if an ancient document were discovered -- and authenticated -- that negated the most foundational Christian beliefs?

The Magdalene Deception is well-researched, the plot is well-paced, and the blend of fact and fiction is quite satisfying. The glimpses of ambition, greed and even graft within the Vatican are titillating. What failed to work for me was a somewhat wooden prose style, and dialogue that was
Heather W
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Magdalene Deception is the first book in The Magdalene Chronicles and is a good start to this new series.

I found this to be an intriguing book with a great mix of fiction and historical facts. The history of the Church and the Vatican was obviously well researched. The characters are well depicted and intelligent. The storyline is well written and captured my attention from the first, with mysterious documents, a history of blackmail, danger, deception, and intrigue.

This is the first book I
 Reading Reindeer
Readers who enjoy Dan Brown and Glenn Cooper will surely adore THE MAGDALENE DECEPTION, a seriously roller-coaster religio/historical/contemporary thriller, referencing two of my cherished time periods/Conspiracy theories: Abbe Berenger Sauniere of Rennes-le-Chateau, France, in the very early 20th century, and the Cathars of Languedoc in the 12th century. Father Michael Dominic, a Jesuit assigned to the Vatican's Secret Archive, discovers evidence that a French priest may have blackmailed the Va ...more
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This novel exceeded my expectations! Although the Vatican has been a popular setting for many suspenseful novels, the author captured the feel of working around the Vatican library, and walking through hallways that most visitors don't have access to during the average tour. The main characters were likeable and believable, and the moral dilemmas that occurred were handled thoughtfully and respectfully. It was engaging and well-written, and left me wondering what the impact of this discovery wou ...more
Jun 09, 2020 rated it liked it
I had higher hopes for The Magdalene Deception by Gary McAvoy, unfortunately it fell a little short. Was it a bad book? Not at all, hense a 3 star rating. Was it descriptive? Yes, it was. I felt like I was there, but there was so many details it drug out too long. A good read for those who like these sort of books.

Thank you to BookSirens for the free digital copy in exchange for an honest and voluntary review of the book. All opinions are my own.
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Gary McAvoy is a veteran technology executive, entrepreneur, and lifelong writer. For several years he was also a literary media escort in Seattle, during which time he worked with hundreds of authors promoting their books—most notably Dr. Jane Goodall, with whom Gary later collaborated on “Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating” (Hachette, 2005).

Gary is also a professional collector of rare

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