The Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud

Publisher: Seal Books
One of History’s Most Sacred Treasures. . .
An Age-Old Secret Conspiracy. . .
Now the Truth Is Revealed. . . .

Marco Valoni, chief of Italy’s Art Crimes Department, is convinced that a fire in the Cathedral of Turin that leaves a strangely mutilated, unidentifiable body on the scene was no accident. It is only the last in a long line of mishaps, going back over a hundred years, that have occurred in the church – which happens to be home to what millions of the faithful believe is that authentic burial shroud of Jesus Christ.

Valoni and his crack team of specialists embark on an investigation that soon leads them into dangerous territory, territory controlled by some of the most powerful men in the world. Not only do they discover evidence of a secret Christian sect that traces its priests to the very disciples of Jesus himself, but also that the Knights Templar – supposedly destroyed forever when Philip the Fair of France watched their last Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, burn at the stake in 1314 – may not have disappeared at all, and may indeed be very much alive and active in the 21st century.

Julia Navarro skillfully weaves the Italians’ thrilling present-day investigation with the spine-tingling history of the Holy Shroud itself, and with a chilling tale of ancient rivals, equally devoted to the relic, and equally willing to sacrifice anything – perhaps even their immortal souls–to possess it.

From communities of the Middle East founded by Jesus himself, to medieval Byzantium, to the highest councils of the Vatican and the boardrooms that run the world today, The Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud is a provocative page-turner of the highest order – one that will challenge you to believe.

"The screams of the tortured men echoed within the thick walls of the dungeons. How many days had passed since they were arrested? The Templars had lost count. . . .

A man, his face concealed by a hood, watched the suffering of the knights from the shadows, these knights who had once wielded their swords and risked their very lives to defend the Cross. Reveling in their torment, sick with avarice and cruelty, Philippe signaled the torturers to go on…. Broken and bloodied, Jacques de Molay could hardly see, but he sensed who it was beneath the hood. A smile came to the Grand Master’s lips when the king demanded that he confess where he had hidden the holy shroud of Jesus.

At last Philippe saw that it was futile to continue. De Molay would not yield….

Fire began to burn the Templars’ ravaged flesh. Jacques de Molay’s eyes remained fixed on Philippe, and before him and the people of Paris the Grand Master proclaimed his innocence and called down divine justice on the king of France and Pope Clement, summoning them to stand with him before the judgment of God within the year.

A shiver ran down Philippe’s spine as de Molay’s words rang out. No, God could not be on the side of these Templars, these heretics. He, Philippe, king of France, was obeying the laws of the Church.

But was he obeying the laws of God?"

—From The Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud

From the Hardcover edition.


Chapter One

C. 30 A.D.

Abgar, king of Edessa,
to Jesus the good Savior, who appears at Jerusalem,
I have been informed concerning you and the cures you perform without the use of medicines and herbs.
For it is reported that you cause the...
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"Plenty of action and a cast of well-drawn characters will satisfy Da Vinci Code fans…. Navrarro even provides an explanation as to why how the Shroud of Turin can be a true relic, even though the cloth has been carbon-dated to the Middle Ages."

“An exuberant, deeply involved thriller, woven around the history of the Shroud of Turin…Spanish journalist Navarro distinguishes her fiction debut from routine suspense fodder by ending this convoluted tale with realistic ambiguity rather than wrapping up all the loose ends….Terrifically lively characterizations and the author’s passion for her subject make this one stand out. -- Kirkus Reviews

“Your chance to read the book that knocked Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code off Spain’s bestsellers lists.” --Library Journal

“A religious suspense thriller with an epic quest, an age-old secret conspiracy and a secretive group of people who will, naturally, stop at nothing. . . . [Navarro] writes well . . . and her characterizations are strong. . . . Superior.” --The Observer (UK)

“Navarro deserves credit for her extensive research on the legend of the Knights Templar.” --Entertainment Weekly

From the Hardcover edition.