Review

The Seventh Sacrament

by David Hewson

THE
SEVENTH SACRAMENT is the latest installment in David Hewson’s
series of novels featuring Italian policeman Nic Costa. As is
always the case with Hewson, one must expect nothing less than the
unexpected. Back in Rome after the events that transpired in THE
LIZARD'S BITE, Costa and his partner, the quietly enigmatic Gianni
Peroni, investigate a series of murders tied not only to an
unsolved disappearance from over a decade previously but also to a
religion that was eradicated thousands of years ago.

Hewson has made a practice of bringing illumination to the dark and
dusty corners of history. He does so again in his newest work,
casting light upon Mithraism, a religious cult that flourished
among the military and bureaucratic components of the Roman Empire
until it was all but eradicated by the Emperor Constantine in 312
AD. As Hewson advises in his short but fascinating prologue,
subterranean Mithraic temples have been discovered through the
Roman Empire’s military frontiers, including several in Rome
itself.

Fourteen years before the events in THE SEVENTH SACRAMENT, a
seven-year-old boy --- the son of Giorgio Bramante, a respected and
feared archaeologist --- vanishes into the labyrinth of a newly
discovered Mithraic temple. His father, in a rage, murders one of
the students whom he believes to be responsible. The man goes to
prison, a police commissario resigns in disgrace, and the boy is
never found.

As the contemporary events in the book commence, Bramante is
released from prison and almost immediately resumes his quest for
revenge --- a quest that appears to include Leo Falcone, Costa and
Peroni’s inspector as a target. Their investigation
incorporates a wide array of disciplines --- from archaeology to
biology, from mythology to computer science, from the basest
emotions to the highest ideals --- before the fascinating puzzle of
Bramante’s motives is revealed, and the final fate of his
son, lost for so many years, is ultimately uncovered.

THE SEVENTH SACRAMENT is possibly Hewson’s most accessible
work, providing not one but several new wrinkles to one of the
mystery genre’s most reliable themes --- the abducted child
--- and contrasting the ancient and modern worlds, even while
setting up scenarios for future novels in the series. If you are
unfamiliar with previous volumes, now is the time to jump on
board.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011

The Seventh Sacrament
by David Hewson

  • Publication Date: July 31, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press
  • ISBN-10: 0385339569
  • ISBN-13: 9780385339568