Review: The Third Secret by Steve Berry

Review: The Third Secret by Steve BerryThe Third Secret by Steve Berry
Published by Random House LLC on 2005-05-17
Pages: 400
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BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Steve Berry’s The Columbus Affair. Explosive in both its pace and its revelations, The Third Secret is a remarkable international thriller. Bestselling author Steve Berry tackles some of the most controversial ideas of our time in a breakneck journey through the history of the Church and the future of religion. Fatima, Portugal, 1917: The Virgin Mary appears to three peasant children, sharing with them three secrets, two of which are soon revealed to the world. The third secret is sealed away in the Vatican, read only by popes, and not disclosed until the year 2000. When revealed, its quizzical tone and anticlimactic nature leave many faithful wondering if the Church has truly unveiled all of the Virgin Mary’s words–or if a message far more important has been left in the shadows. Vatican City, present day: Papal secretary Father Colin Michener is concerned for the Pope. Night after restless night, Pope Clement XV enters the Vatican’s Riserva, the special archive open only to popes, where the Church’s most clandestine and controversial documents are stored. Though unsure of the details, Michener knows that the Pope’ s distress stems from the revelations of Fatima. Equally concerned, but not out of any sense of compassion, is Alberto Cardinal Valendrea, the Vatican’s Secretary of State,. Valendrea desperately covets the papacy, having narrowly lost out to Clement at the last conclave. Now the Pope’s interest in Fatima threatens to uncover a shocking ancient truth that Valendrea has kept to himself for many years. When Pope Clement sends Michener to the Romanian highlands, then to a Bosnian holy site, in search of a priest–possibly one of the last people on Earth who knows Mary’s true message– a perilous set of events unfolds. Michener finds himself embroiled in murder, suspicion, suicide, deceit, and his forbidden passion for a beloved woman. In a desperate search for answers, he travels to Pope Clement’s birthplace in Germany, where he learns that the third secret of Fatima may dictate the very fate of the Church–a fate now lying in Michener’s own hands.

I have a love/hate relationship with Steve Berry. Sometimes he absolutely thrills me. Sometimes he doesn’t. This particular time I was somewhere in the middle of thrilled and not thrilled. Helpful, I know. Because this particular novel is about religion, I couldn’t help but compare him to Dan Brown. What I found is that Steve Berry’s “reveal” moment wasn’t as impressive or as shocking as I was expecting it to be. But that was because I kept comparing him to Dan Brown. Bad. Bad!

With that being said, I thought this book was good. It wasn’t terrible by any means. I was entertained. I was riveted for a few pages. It was great bedtime reading for a few days. In terms of the “big” news at the ends, I was like “eh, yeah. There’s no way that couldn’t be true.” In the interesting of remaining spoil free, I won’t post the details.

I recommend this book to people looking for:

  1. a quick and easy read
  2. a fun read
  3. a story about conspiracy
  4. an alternative to Dan Brown



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