McIntyre finds it difficult to remember his father, who died two
years ago. Capt. McIntyre’s Humvee was obliterated by an
Iraqi bomb, making him an instant hero. The 15-year-old is torn
between love for his dad and uncertainty about a new man in his
mother’s life. He is also the object of brutal attacks by
bullies at his public school. Ryan is beaten nearly beyond
recognition and left for dead in the school bathroom, where the
janitor finds him. This is the last straw for his mom, who, with
Tom Kelly’s help, enrolls Ryan in St. Isaac’s
Preparatory Academy in Boston for his final high school days.
St. Isaac’s is the site of troubling occurrences upon
Ryan’s arrival. A student who disappeared and was located by
Boston police after having murdered a woman has been shot to death
by the officers. Ryan’s new bed just happens to be the one
assigned to the dead student, Kip Adamson. He is reacquainted with
Father Sebastian Sloan, the young priest who visited him in the
hospital and who now takes him under his wing.
The campus is a venerable site, its aging halls holding secret
spaces beneath the outer structure and in tunnels running the
lengths of its boundaries. Students roam in the tunnels and find
shortcuts to upper areas such as the infirmary, kitchen, library
and more. Cold damp walls chill the nerves of trespassers
Father Sebastian’s assignment at St. Isaac’s is
twofold: to minister to troubled students and to further his
studies in ancient rites of the Church. His primary emphasis has
been exorcism. Within the corridors and tunnels beneath the school
is a hidden chapel, known to but a chosen few members of the
faculty. Here, Father Sebastian helps his most troubled students
rid their demons.
The Pope and his retinue visit Boston for an unscheduled trip to
witness the extraordinary rites that Father Sebastian has performed
and videotaped. A scholar of ancient rituals, the Pope must
experience for himself the priest’s one-man war against evil.
But terror of a more sinister nature awaits him. As Ryan witnesses
with mounting dread the transformations of his fellow pupils, he
becomes more and more certain that forces of darkness, not
divinity, are at work.
THE DEVIL’S LABYRINTH is a thriller that spellbinds the
reader with appreciation for John Saul’s ingenuity. His 34th
book is a winding path of words that tempts audiences to flip to
the final pages for resolution, but the strength of its plot
quickly arrests that urge.
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on December 29, 2010