An ecclesiastical thriller based on the legend of the Lady in Blue, an apparition said to have prepared indigenous Americans for the arrival of the conquistadores and their missionary Catholicism.
Sierra’s latest work (The Secret Supper, 2006, was his first published in the U.S.) will again spark comparisons to Dan Brown. The novel features, among others, nuns able to project themselves long distances and occupy two spaces simultaneously; a journalist propelled by mysterious “coincidences” to investigate a mysterious entity, the Lady in Blue; a young American woman with psychic gifts who’s plagued by detailed, persistent dreams; and an Italian priest and music professor long engaged in a shadowy Vatican project called Chronovision that derives from the idea that “harmony was capable of provoking altered states of consciousness that permitted priests and initiates…access to ‘superior’ realms of reality.” Sierra mixes fact and fiction adeptly but tendentiously, and sometimes seems less a novelist than a polemicist intent on fashioning mysticism into pseudoscience. The prose and characters can be wooden, the fictional accoutrements crude, but Sierra makes it all entertaining, intermixing history, churchly intrigue, folklore, spycraft, musicology and conspiracy journalism to amusing, if not always plausible, effect—and all of it moving toward a surprising conclusion.
The book is not always satisfying, but the interest of the material—time travel! music-induced trances! astral projection! larcenous angels with code names and walkie-talkies!—wins out in the end.