I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! While the story is reminiscent of "The Da Vinci Code", this book is even better. The beginning of the book is somewhat dry with its exhaustive background on the Catholic Church and the Staurofilakes, but reading through that is well worth it!
A sure sign that I love a book is if it's one that I want to read again and again. This is one of those books.
The writing and translation are beautiful and literate. The three main characters are developed enough that I knew them -- I knew their good and bad qualities. Their adventures are exciting, taking place in present day but following ancient paths through historical cities like Alexandria, Rome, Jerusalem, Athens and Constantinople.
I like historical fiction, and one of the best parts of this book are the detailed descriptions of historical places, people and events.
All these elements are wrapped together by an intriguing mystery of the True Cross and the secret organization that has protected the relic for centuries.
THE LAST CATO by Matilde Asensi: Dr. Ottavia Salina, a brilliant and highly esteemed paleographer, is working away at her classified workspace deep within Vatican City when her routine is interrupted. She is given the task of deciphering the strange tattoos --- seven Greek letters and seven crosses --- found on an Ethiopian man's corpse. Found next to what was left of the body were three pieces of wood --- suspected by Vatican scholars to be fragments of the Vera Cruz, actual splinters from the Cross on which Christ was crucified. Actually written in Spain prior to the explosion of religious-themed thrillers such as THE DA VINCI CODE, THE LAST TEMPLAR, THE TEMPLAR LEGACY and THE SECRET SUPPER, it follows the now familiar line uncovering deceptions, corruption and outright lies that have shaped the truth as we know it. What hath Dan Brown wrought?
I couldn't get into this book. Maybe because it's a translation from Spanish, but I didn't care for the writing style. This could be the most amazing adventure ever, but the writing is just too awkward for my taste.
I loved this book and was sorry to see it end. Who cares if it is true or not. (I stumbled a bit on the math. I don't think that they were using Arabic numbers at the time of some of the events.) There was a lot of growth and change in the characters, and the book gives lots to ponder as well as an amazing adventure story.
A blurb on the book says it "will do for Dante what Dan Brown did for Da Vinci" (James Rollins)--I couldn't have said it better myself.
I thought this book was good until the end and then it seemed a little to far fetched to keep in line with the rest of the book. Lots of interesting historical data though.