Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Virgin of the Wind Rose: A Christopher Columbus Mystery-Thriller by Glen Craney | A Book Review

The Virgin of the Wind Rose: A Christopher Columbus Mystery-Thriller by Glen Craney | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

Paperback: 406 pages
 Brigid's Fire Press 

While investigating the murder of an American missionary in Ethiopia, rookie State Department lawyer Jaqueline Quartermane stumbles upon a Latin palindrome embedded with a cryptographic time bomb. Separated by half a millennium, two global conspiracies dovetail in this dual-period thriller to expose the world's most explosive secret: The real mission and identity ofChristopher Columbus.

Recent editorial praise for this Books & Benches 2017 Scéal BOYTA Finalist

Bella Wright of Best Thrillers: "An impeccably researched, high-velocity historical thriller.... If you love Steve Berry, Dan Brown or Umberto Eco, you may have a new author favorite in Glen Craney."  

Quarterdeck magazine: "An exciting journey across time, with more twists and turns than a strawberry Twizzler. Craney has produced a page-turning adventure, with crisp, clean and measured prose... The research behind the stories is massive, lending credence to the cast of characters and authenticity to the historic periods. This is a highly recommended historical thriller." 

Rosie Amber Reviews: "It grips you in its teeth and whirls you through history."
Sweet Mystery Books: "Move over, Dan Brown, you've got competition."

I just finished reading this last night. I was glued to the story. Oh, how I missed reading stories just like this. This is a mix of Dan Brown, Clive Cussler, Bernard Cornwell and Steve Berry. Yes, all the above are into the same genre and I love all of their books. Bernard Cornwell may be the least read because I have not found a lot of his books in the second hand bookstore. I have only read one book of Cornwell and I am already a believer. I was so elated that Mr. Craney asked me to review this book. This has been the most amazing adventure I have been, so far this year. I have travelled to Portugal, Spain, Canada, Africa and the Middle East. Suddenly, I had this thought of visiting the Lalibela churches in Ethiopia because of this book. Another one for the bucket list.

As the title suggests, this is a Christopher Columbus mystery-thriller but it took quite a while for the story to come to that. I was not disappointed though, because the first chapter alone had me hooked. There was no way I was going to let go of this book until I finished it. Although, I did not finish this in one sitting because that is a bit hard to pull off unless you forgo eating, chores and other things. I was looking forward to getting to the part when the Christopher Columbus connection of the story would be finally revealed. I did not mind the waiting because each chapter is just filled with its own adventure. It's hard to describe the feeling but it was so familiar to me. The feeling of reading a book of Clive Cussler or Dan Brown is exactly the same feeling I got when I was reading this book. The same intensity, mystery, and thrill. I just love this feeling. I was high. This is my kind of drug.

The chapters would take you to the present then back to the past. The time when Portugal and Spain's strong rivalry for discovering lands and spices was the big thing. It was the only thing. These two countries were the supreme powers then. It was what all people thought of. It was exhilarating reading about characters that I have known only in history books and in here, it seemed like they have become flesh and blood and I was being shown to walk in their footsteps. It was even more a different experience for me because this is my first time to read of Portugal. It was always Spain. This book proved that Portugal was indeed a formidable foe for Spain and even more so because the Portuguese simply would not be outsmarted. They were just so cunning. I actually felt elated having learned that Spain was led to believe that they got the upper hand when they were conned. They let a Portuguese right into their den, even given him resources to help bring their plans to usher in their ruin. Yes, I think I am on Team Portugal. The Spaniards colonized my country for 333 years, so I had it for them. 

I know a lot of books has been written about the holy relics and this one is no exception. This book not only talked about the ark of the covenant or the holy grail, but also the coming of the new messiah. The subject is not new but the style of writing and how the writer takes you to places and makes your heart beat like drums is just so unbelievable. How come I never heard of Glen Craney before? I must have lived under a rock. I love historical thrillers and mysteries so this is right on my alley but I have never come upon any of the author's works. Hmmmm...I thought I was so good in finding new authors under this genre but I was wrong. Thank the book gods, Craney found me. I am so thankful. I would have missed a few years of my life if he hasn't.

I usually read three books by an author before I add him to my favorites list but I think Mr. Craney is an exception. He is my favorite already. Just like Bernard Cornwell, I only read one book and I had been turned. Note to self: hunt for Glen Craney's books starts now! And of course, add him to my favorite authors' list.

Need I say more? There is no question. This book definitely deserves all the thirteen stars in the constellation of Virgo. I have undoubtedly found another star. Thank you so much Glen Craney! I have never felt so honored and lucky that this book landed in my lap. I believe this book is not the end of Jaq Quartermaine. I feel that the engravings in her headstone hinted of that. How will Jaq rise from the dead? That is altogether another adventure I can't wait to be part of. The talk of constellations and stars was dizzying but I was also mystified. And most of all, the author made it appear like sailing is the most amazing and fulfilling thing in the world. Ah, I can't wait to command my own caravel and prove that the world is indeed round and not flat.

There are two types of men in general. Believers, who avoid the unknown for fear of destroying their precious beliefs, and Knowers, who risk all to test their doubts.

- Glen Craney, The Virgin of the Wind Rose -  

Glen Craney holds graduate degrees from Indiana University School of Law and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He practiced trial law before joining the Washington, D.C. press corps to cover national politics and the Iran-contra trial for Congressional Quarterly magazine. The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences awarded him the Nicholl Fellowship prize for best new screenwriting, and he is a three-time finalist for Foreword Reviews Book-of-the-Year Award. His debut historical novel, The Fire and the Light, was honored as Best New Fiction by the National Indie Excellence Awards. His books have taken readers to Occitania during the Albigensian Crusade, to the Scotland of Robert Bruce, to Portugal during the Age of Discovery, to the trenches of France during World War I, and to the American Hoovervilles of the Great Depression.

AMPAS Nicholl Fellowship Winner
indieBRAG Medallion Honoree
Chaucer Award Double Finalist
Nautilus Silver Award Winner
IPPY Silver Award Winner
NIEA Award Winner for Best New Fiction
Eric Hoffer Finalist/Honorable Mention Winner  
Three-time Foreword Reviews Book-of-the-Year Finalist
Da Vinci Eye Award Finalist

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