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The Fifth Gospel


The Fifth Gospel

In 2004, two young authors and former college buddies penned a novel that spent nearly 50 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. THE RULE OF FOUR received mixed reviews, and its popularity spread primarily through word of mouth. The inevitable comparisons to Dan Brown's legendary THE DA VINCI CODE were made, which was a high standard to live up to. Then, inexplicably, Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason faded from sight.

It is obvious to me that during this 11-year hiatus, Caldwell spent time doing much research and honing his skills as a writer. The end result is the brilliant THE FIFTH GOSPEL, a controversial novel that is certain to cause much discussion and, hopefully, a place at the top of the New York Times bestseller list where it rightly belongs.

"A fun and eye-opening read, THE FIFTH GOSPEL deserves to be discussed in the same breath as Dan Brown's work and also calls to mind Umberto Eco's THE NAME OF THE ROSE."

Filled with enough historical and theological intrigue to please the biggest fans of this genre and enough action to please nearly everyone else, THE FIFTH GOSPEL is destined to be one of 2015's finest novels. At the heart of this pulse-pounding effort is a lost gospel that is sought by many --- specifically our two protagonists, each of whom are Vatican priests.

Just a few short months ago, the leaders of the Roman Catholic Orthodox churches met to discuss a mutual enemy: ISIS. THE FIFTH GOSPEL finds an ancient rift that split the two largest Christian sects and traces it all the way back to the birth, life and death of Jesus Christ. The novel breaks down the four gospels of the Bible in a very intelligent way, outlining the many discrepancies between the history recounted by the four apostles who penned them. What the book proposes is an alleged fifth gospel --- one that unites all four of those found in the Bible and gives clear answers on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The two brothers, Simon and Alex Andreou, are well-developed characters who are easy to cheer for.  You also will find yourself holding your breath and wincing as they escape one pitfall after another in search of one of the most controversial relics in the history of the world --- the Shroud of Turin.

With the existence of the actual Shroud of Turin in question, a radical religious scholar is murdered just when he is about to display the purported item. It is then up to the Andreou brothers not only to solve the murder of their friend, but also to seek out the truth behind the existence of this fifth gospel and preserve it at all costs.

A fun and eye-opening read, THE FIFTH GOSPEL deserves to be discussed in the same breath as Dan Brown's work and also calls to mind Umberto Eco's THE NAME OF THE ROSE. There is also reference to recent Roman Catholic history as we learn about Pope John Paul II's dying wish for the Catholic Church. Sit down, dig in, and prepare for many hours of uninterrupted reading as you most assuredly will get lost inside this novel.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on March 13, 2015

The Fifth Gospel
by Ian Caldwell

  • Publication Date: February 23, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • ISBN-10: 1501131966
  • ISBN-13: 9781501131967