18 May 2012

Book Review: The Inquisitor's Key


I recently received a copy of the newly published  The Inquisitor's Key: A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass, compliments of the publisher.   I've never read a book by by this author before, and was excited to get started with this one!  I was immediately interested when I read the "about the author" blurb on the book jacket (does anyone else do that first?).  Jefferson Bass is not one person, but two.  One is a world-renowned forensic anthropologist and the other is a journalist, writer, and documentary filmmaker.  What an intriguing pairing! I was also intrigued by by the premise of the book.  Check out this brief synopsis, from the book jacket:
Miranda Lovelady, Dr. Bill Brockton's protege, is spending the summer helping excavate a newly discovered chamber beneath the spectacular Palace of the Popes in Avignon, France. There she discovers a stone chest inscribed with a stunning claim: inside lie the bones of none other than Jesus of Nazareth. Faced with a case of unimaginable proportions, Miranda summons Brockton for help proving or refuting the claim. Both scientists are skeptical—after all, fake relics abounded during the Middle Ages—but evidence for authenticity looks strong initially, and soon grows stronger. 
Brockton and Miranda link the bones to the haunting image on the Shroud of Turin, revered by millions as the burial cloth of Christ, and then a laboratory test finds the bones to be two thousand years old. The finding triggers a deadly tug-of-war between the anthropologists, the Vatican, and a deadly zealot who hopes to use the bones to bring about the Second Coming—and trigger the end of time. 
Set against an international landscape, and weaving a rich tapestry of religion, history, art, and science, The Inquisitor's Key takes Jefferson Bass to an exciting new level of suspense.
I love well-researched historical thrillers, anything related to anthropology, anything that takes place in Europe, and everything about art.  This seemed like a no-brainer for my shelves! I read through the book in one sitting.  It definitely held my attention, and I learned a few interesting things along the way.  Typically, when I'm reading I jot down notes about things I'd like to learn more about; it never fails to upset me when I fact check and find the author(s) didn't do their homework.  The writing team of Jefferson Bass did do their homework, though.  The history was accurate, the portrayal of historical characters evolved directly from widely accepted historical documents and data, and the depiction of the geography was perfect.

The main characters in the book were definitely relatable; I found myself smiling when Dr. Brockton would mutter something that seemed perfectly realistic to say in the situation.  I also really liked the way the narrative shifted from past to present - it was an excellent way to get immersed in the story.  I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes crime fiction, history, or science.  It's definitely a great summer read!  And next on my list are the preceding novels in the Body Farm series.

Quick Facts: 
Hardcover: 368 pages 
Publisher: William Morrow (May 8, 2012) 
Language: English 
ISBN-10: 006180679X 
ISBN-13: 978-0061806797  

I received a copy of this book from the publisher; all opinions are my own and no other compensation was given.

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