ISBN 0440128595 - Long before the DaVinci Code... there were The Gemini Contenders - proving that fictional thrillers and religion have a long history of making good books together.
Savarone Fontini-Cristi has a 2000 year old secret. It's been in safe hands for a long time, but Hitler is leaving very few places safe enough for a secret like this one. To keep it hidden, the monks of The Order of Xenope turn to Savarone, who is among the first of many who die to protect it, or just because of it's existence. His son Vittorio spends a lifetime not knowing, or even caring all that much, about this secret - but many men, for many reasons, believe he knows more than he realizes or admits and are determined to find where Savarone has it hidden, at any cost. Only shortly before his death does Vittorio - now living in America as Victor Fontine - decide that the vault that disappeared thirty years before must be found. Knowing his death is near, he turns the secret over to his sons, the Geminis, twins who could not possibly be more different from one another. The future of the Christian world hinges on the right twin finding it.
There are a few things that bothered me about this book. For one thing, a review of it is hard to do in just a few short paragraphs, because it does span thirty years and gets a bit convoluted. Apparently, in the 1970s, black people were Black people, which was just distracting. Deaths were frequent and sudden, but I wrote that off as part of WWII and, later in the book, as necessary to the story. It would have seemed bizarre if the story had had a completely peaceful ending, considering all the death leading up to it. Still, the characters I came to care most about died without fanfare and the twins of the title weren't developed much at all. The story itself outweighs the nitpicking, however, and I'd definitely recommend it!