Silencers go thwapp! in the night as the Church fights to save a precious artifact from the hands of evil.
Monteleone’s latest religious thriller (after The Reckoning, 1999, etc.) kicks off in Portugal, circa 1922, where some shadowy thugs destroy a shrine to the Virgin Mary, leaving only a shard of supposedly miraculous stained glass that show the eyes of Mary. Cut to the present day, a time when a Freemason-like, centuries-old cabal of devilish industrialists called the Guild is murdering Church operatives who stand between them and the glass, hoping to turn its powers (which include foretelling the future) to their own needs. One dark night in New Hampshire, Kate Harrison suffers the murders of both her sister and her husband, and would have been killed herself had it not been for p.i. and ex-Navy SEAL Matt Etchison, who’s pretty handy with an Uzi. It turns out that Kate’s brother-in-law Domenic Petralli is a member of the Knights of Malta, who operate as a sort of shadow army for the Vatican. Standing between Kate & Co. and the Eyes of the Virgin is the almost infinite—but godless—power of the octopus-like Guild. Fortunately, the Knights have more weaponry and gadgetry at their disposal than a decade’s worth of James Bondses and are more than willing to help Kate find her killers. Monteleone knows how to play the international spy-hopper game, taking us from Poland to Corsica to ravishing little cafes in Italy, but has a tendency to shore up his often-flagging plot by bringing on the black helicopters and blazing automatic weaponry. What’s truly disturbing is not the ultra-rightist religious content here—which makes itself known mostly by the occasional muttered comment about arrogant Jesuits and foolish atheists—but how little of it there is. Monteleone is much more interested in keeping the bullets flying than in organically integrating his pro-Church views into the blood-soaked narrative.
A by-the-numbers actioner that seeks to justify the brutal body count with a thin, cynically applied scrim of sermonizing.