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The discovery of St. Peter's will in a Coptic monastery threatens the stability of the Middle East and the legitimacy of the Roman Catholic Church and thrusts its scholarly discoverer into a world of most unscholarly intrigue and action. After 10 years of research in the isolation of the mysterious CoPtic Christian monasteries of Egypt, Cambridge archaeologist Dr. Chas Winterton has at last made the discovery that promises to secure his professional reputation and maybe even make him Dr. Sir Chas. The Coptic monks have unknowingly been guarding St. Peter's last will and testament, which was dictated to a scribe in Alexandria and addressed to James, the brother of Jesus. Most extraordinary. To capitalize on the discovery, the penniless Winterton goes to Cairo and seeks the protection and assistance of endlessly wealthy and powerful David Medina, a man who collects governments and art objects with equal ease. Winterton is interested, but so, it seems, is the Roman Catholic Church. Publication of the will could reduce the Vatican to just one more Italian museum. Poor Winterton's dreams of academic glory and a triumphal return to Cambridge are shattered as church, state, and the private sector begin to shoot it out for control of the ancient document. A preposterous but thoroughly entertaining first novel, and full of wonderful scenes of Egypt off the beaten track.

Pub Date: March 30th, 1987
Publisher: Walker