Spanish author Julia Navarro's debut novel The Brotherhood of the Holy Shroud (John Murray £10.99, pp416) is a religious suspense thriller with an epic quest, an age-old secret conspiracy and a secretive group of people who will, naturally, stop at nothing. But Navarro moves away from the Grail and Mary Magdalene to focus on the Turin Shroud, that relic believed by many to bear the likeness of Jesus. In Navarro's novel, the shroud has fabled powers that the aforementioned stop-at-nothing types want.
Since scientific testing has conclusively proved that the real shroud is no older than the Middle Ages, Navarro's book starts without the 'could be true' factor. However, she writes well (and is beautifully translated by Borges's recent translator, Andrew Hurley) and her characterisations are strong. Tosh of a superior quality. Read More
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