INQUISITION has received a STARRED REVIEW in Publisher's Weeky, the influential US publishing magazine:
'A sophisticated plot lifts bestseller Gibbins' superior 10th thriller featuring archaeologist Jack Howard (after 2017's TESTAMENT). When the wreck of an English ship that sank off Cornwall in 1684 while transporting equipment and people back from the failed colony of Tangier yields a silver coin marked with a Star of David, Jack is baffled. The vessel would have had to pass through waters controlled by the Inquisition, and it made no sense for it to contain any evidence of the merchant's Jewish faith. To resolve that conundrum, Jack delves into an obscure chapter in British history - the abandonment of the North African colony in favour of a focus on consolidating the British Empire's control of India. His pursuit of an explanation takes him to Portugal and Bolivia, since the initial mystery proves to be just the tip of a large iceberg with major ramifications. Steve Berry fans eager for an intelligent blend of suspense and reality, including some horrific contemporary developments, will be rewarded.' (review on 5 February 2018)
AD 258 As the blood of martyred Christians runs through Rome, Pope Sixtus entrusts their most sacred object to a devoted follower. Soon after, the Holy Grail disappears from history.
1684 While overseeing the evacuation of the English colony of Tangier, Samuel Pepys - the famous diarist who was also a British Admiralry official - attempts to retrieve a priceless relic which has resurfaced after more than a thousand years. Meanwhile, a merchant from the Sephardic community in Portugal is tortured by the Altamanus, a secret group determined to locate the Grail.
Present day A wreck of the 17th century off the coast of Cornwall in England reveals clues to a mystery that maritime archaeologist Jack Howard had thought beyond solving. He embarks on an epic quest that takes him to the sunken ruins of the pirate city of Port Royal in Jamaica, and to the darkest region of Spanish colonial rule in South America. The spectre of the deadly Inquisition dogs his every step, and Jack must face a descent into hell itself if he is to uncover the greatest treasure in Christendom.
Off Cornwall, southwest England, present day
'Jack, I can see silver. It’s fantastic. It looks like a piece of eight.'
Jack Howard stared at the diver wedged into the cleft in the rock in front of him. More accurately, he stared at the backside of the diver, coming ever closer with each surge of the sea behind them. Another wave hit him, forcing him farther up Costas’s legs, and he braced himself against the rock as the water boiled around them and then subsided, draining off with a giant sucking sound. 'Are you sure?' he shouted, his voice sounding hollow in the cleft. 'You sure it’s not just another shiny pebble stuck in the rock?'
'I’m no archaeologist, Jack, but I know treasure when I see it.' Jack braced himself, knowing to trust his friend’s judgment. Costas might be a submersibles engineer by profession, but after twenty years of diving together, a little bit of Jack’s passion for archaeology had rubbed off.
Another surge hit them, and Jack struggled to keep his mouth above water. 'Can you get it out?'
'I’ve got the tool, but my arms aren’t long enough.'
'You’re saying you’re stuck.'
'I didn’t say that.'
'I knew I shouldn’t have let you go in first.'
'If you’d gone first, the surge would have pushed you beyond the pool in front of me now, and you’d never have seen it. With my more muscular physique, I was able to stop in time.'
'You mean you got stuck.'
A large wave broke over the rocks in front of the cliff behind them, rolled down the gully that led to the cleft and smacked into the entrance, spraying Jack with flecks of foam before the water hit him. The big waves came with every ten or twelve oscillations of the swell, the residue from some distant mid-Atlantic storm. Jack dipped his face into the water to clear the foam from his mask and turned to look back at the sea, his wetsuit scraping against the rock as he did so. He could see line-of-sight down the cleft to the entrance in the cliff some ten meters back, and then down the gully beyond the cliff base for another twenty meters or so to the open sea, the gray clouds visible above the distant lines of whitecaps. From where they were on the coast of Cornwall, the next stop down that line-of-sight was the northern coast of South America, some five thousand nautical miles distant. It was an astonishing thought, one that excited the explorer in Jack, as if he were looking through a porthole into the unknown, into the vast expanse of ocean that had drawn his ancestors and generations of other mariners to set off from these shores on voyages of discovery and revelation.
From INQUISITION, Copyright © 2018 David Gibbins
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INQUISITION has been published in UK, US, French and Greek editions, with the UK paperback out in June 2018 and the US paperback scheduled for April 2019. An Italian editions will also appear soon. Click on the covers for links to Amazon or the publisher websites.