THE PROPHETESS by Barbara Wood


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 An entertaining suspense thriller, set during the last days of 1999 and featuring the discovery of ancient, explosive religious revelations in a series of scrolls. Wood has dealt previously with the spiritual odysseys of feisty females (The Dreaming, 1991, etc.), as well as with archaeological adventures. But this is also a tale of a pair on the run, and their adventures carry the story beyond its preachments, however worthy. Catherine Alexander, an enterprising archaeologist with feminist scores to settle--principally with the Catholic Church--finds in her Sinai dig six ancient papyrus scrolls containing not only the name of Jesus but also pointing to the possibility of women priests in the early church. To protect her finds from a greedy establishment, Catherine decides to smuggle them out of the country and enlists the help of her old friend Daniel, another archaeologist. To her dismay and puzzlement, it is a handsome young priest, Fr. Michael Garibaldi, who in turn comes to the pair's aid as a number of enemies close in. Among the pursuers eager for the scrolls: mega-mouth Miles Havers, the ultimate collector, and his lethal hirelings; the Catholic Church; the Egyptian government; and then, following Daniel's death, the state police of California. There will be two murders, pursuits and escapes, and deadly games via cyberspace as Havers's brilliant computer expert gleefully surfs to find Catherine and the priest. Between alarms (and a bit of forbidden passion) and mutual confessions, Catherine translates the six scrolls--the account of a first-century woman who had travelled the known world searching for ``the Righteous One.'' Visits to a quiet cloister (and its secrets) in Vermont and a Vatican necropolis lead to the discovery of a revelatory Seventh Scroll. The religious message here--mainstream unitarian with a mere whiff of New Age--is benign and appealing, but the pace is set by that ``pair of daring adventurers running through cyberspace . . . defying death, going for the prize.'' Fox and hounds with uplift.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-316-81652-3
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1996


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