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Gospel Truths


Gospel Truths

The year is 1991, and British police inspector Nigel Lyman has
fallen from grace following a run as media darling after he solved
a gruesome case involving a teacher who had dismembered several
young students who attended a prestigious school. But then Lyman
accidentally shot and killed another officer during a scuffle with
some bad guys. Add to that the loss of his son in the Falklands war
and the end of his marriage, and Lyman nearly reached his breaking

To top it off, he's been assigned to a seemingly insignificant but
reopened case involving a powerful Vatican-connected Italian banker
who presumably hanged himself off Blackfriars Bridge in London a
year earlier. Like the labyrinths that will eventually provide
pivotal clues, the path Lyman follows in solving the case will take
turns that appear to lead directly to the center of the mystery,
only to steer him in another direction entirely.

At the heart of the case is the legendary "Q" document, which is
purported to be the gospel that the apostles Matthew, Mark and Luke
used as source material for their own gospel accounts. It's
believed to have been hidden away in the Cathedral of Our Lady of
Chartres in France. But before Lyman figures out the link to Q in
Chartres, his investigation leads him to another French city,
Amiens, and its cathedral --- plus a half-dozen or so people who
play essential roles in the unraveling of a web of crime extending
far beyond a London bridge.

It helps to get the characters straight right away: Guy
Soury-Fontaine, tour guide at the Amiens Cathedral; Mariane, his
sister, whose lover, Maurice Duval, mysteriously disappeared a year
earlier; Joseph Koster, an American mathematician and architect who
is smitten with Mariane; Archbishop Kazimierz Grabowski, Guy and
Mariane's cousin who heads up the Vatican Bank; and Marco
Scarcella, who has his hands in all manner of nefarious

And then there's Countess Irene de Rochembaud, who is worthy of her
own paragraph though she gets less ink in the book than the other
main characters. But in this novel of superbly written scenes, the
scene in which Koster meets the countess in a Paris park merits
honorable mention. It provides a delightful respite from the
gripping suspense that characterizes the novel as a whole.

All are in one way or another connected to the pursuit of Q, which
is believed to contain passages that would undermine the
foundations of Christianity. Some, of course, would love to find
the document so they could threaten to expose its contents, while
others want it in order to hide it all over again and protect the
church. With so much at stake --- particularly the extraordinary
sum of money that could fall into the hands of either camp should Q
be found --- there is lots of opportunity for intrigue, corruption,
murder, deception, mystery, greed and the like.

Based on a true incident, GOSPEL TRUTHS was first published in 1992
and is facing the prospect of a second successful run in light of
the resurgence in popularity of religious thrillers. Sandom's
novel, however, is no way typical of the current spate of Da Vinci
wannabes; his is an outstanding accomplishment --- a beautifully
written, intelligent, complex suspense novel. The plot and its
various subplots hold together throughout, and the characters
remain believable from start to finish --- a remarkable achievement
considering the scope of Sandom's effort. Highly recommended.


Gospel Truths
by J.G. Sandom

  • Publication Date: January 30, 2007
  • Genres: Nonfiction, Religion
  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam
  • ISBN-10: 0553589792
  • ISBN-13: 9780553589795