The Name of the Rose meets the Episcopal Church.
When Episcopal priest Lilly Connor (Earth Has No Sorrow, 2001) agrees to take an interim job at Tate University, her toughest challenges are dealing diplomatically with the fundamentalist Christian group on campus and setting boundaries with Samantha Lamb-Henderson, a friend of hers from seminary whom she hasn’t seen in ten years. Lilly has ambivalent feelings about her elegant colleague: envy of her biblical scholarship and academic success and pity for her loneliness and incipient alcoholism. But after a disastrous dinner with Samantha and Francine, her enigmatic assistant, Lilly discovers that Sam wants to involve her in something more dangerous than a demanding friendship. An anonymous someone has been sending the two women copies of a manuscript that gives every evidence of being “Q,” the long-lost source for the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Publication of such a manuscript would rock biblical scholarship and, if the mystical implications of the text are true, perhaps the practice of Christianity itself. It rapidly becomes apparent, however, that another mysterious group will do whatever it needs to do to reclaim the copies and prevent their publication. The heroines’ knowledge of Q’s existence has put all their lives, and what may be even more important, their faith, in danger.
The powerfully dramatized struggle between perfect faith and human imperfection compensates for a fantastic international conspiracy and pacing that’s more contemplative than suspenseful.