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Hieroglyph: Stories and Blueprints for a Better Future
Neal Stephenson
Ukraine: Zbig's Grand Chessboard & How the West Was Checkmated
Natylie Baldwin, Kermit D. Larson
The Girl on the Train: A Novel
Paula Hawkins
Our Souls at Night: A novel
Kent Haruf
Above the Waterfall
Ron Rash
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Stephen King
Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywood Art Direction
Cathy Whitlock
The Homicide Report: Understanding Murder in America
Jill Leovy
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Erik Larson
The Gods of Mars
Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Last Cato - Pamela Carmell, Matilde Asensi Doctor Ottavia Salina is a “paleographer” working at the Vatican. Relics of the True Cross from across the world have been disappearing, and an obscure religious order is suspected of collecting them. The pope himself has ordered Salina, together with a big shot in the Swiss Guard and a world-renowned archaeologist to get to the bottom of the disappearances. The trio discovers a connection to Dante’s Divine Comedy, and pursuing clues left in the classic text, they pursue the truth across the ancient Christian world. Once in the mode of interpreting Dante as a roadmap to solving seven deadly puzzles, I found the book to become a bit boring. We know they will succeed. The only questions remaining are why the secret cult is gathering the Cross remnants and what motivates Captain Kaspar Glauser-Royst.

There is plenty of payload here, which more than makes up for the thin characters. Dante’s work is viewed in a way quite different from garden-variety literary analysis. Was he really writing a coded message to a select group of the knowledgeable? We learn a fair bit about early church history, and also some of the workings of the Vatican. Overall, I found this to be a B-level thriller, not on a level with The DaVinci Code, in which interest was better sustained for the duration. Still, it was an entertaining, enjoyable read, and would probably make good summer fare.