The Ghent Altarpiece is the most violated work of art in the world. It has been vandalized, dismantled, or stolen thirteen times! Why? What secrets does it hold?
Enter UNESCO investigator, Nicholas Lee, who works for the United Nations’ Cultural Liaison and Investigative Office (CLIO). Nick’s job is to protect the world’s cultural artifacts—anything and everything from countless lesser-known objects to national treasures.
When Nick travels to Belgium for a visit with a woman from his past, he unwittingly stumbles on the trail of a legendary panel from the Ghent Altarpiece, stolen in 1934 under cover of night and never seen since. Soon Nick is plunged into a bitter conflict, one that has been simmering for nearly two thousand years. On one side is the Maidens of Saint-Michael, les Vautours—the Vultures—a secret order of nuns and the guardians of a great truth. Pitted against them is the Vatican, which has wanted for centuries to both find and possess what the nuns guard. Because of Nick the maidens have finally been exposed, their secret placed in dire jeopardy—a vulnerability that the Vatican swiftly moves to exploit utilizing an ambitious cardinal and a corrupt archbishop, both with agendas of their own.
From the tranquil canals of Ghent, to the towering bastions of Carcassonne, and finally into an ancient abbey high in the French Pyrenees, Nick Lee must confront a modern-day religious crusade intent on eliminating a shocking truth from humanity’s past. Success or failure—life and death—all turn on the Omega Factor.
It’s been awhile since I read a Steve Berry adventure. I’d gotten a little tired of the Cotton Malone series, so was intrigued by this new story featuring Nick Lee. I was not disappointed. This is a gripping, action-packed adventure which mines more of one of Berry’s favorite topics – Vatican secrets.
Ninja nuns, the Cult of Mary, and an inventive plot that blends art history with religious intrigue, all rolled up into a fine story that will keep you turning pages. I hope Berry will continue to spin tales about Nick Lee’s adventures.
Publication Date: June 7, 2022
Published By: Grand Central Publishing
Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy