John C. Stipa is a marketing analyst by day who crams a hectic family life and writing into a few precious hours every night. Growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, he admits that a childhood spent ignoring No Trespassing signs planted ideas for … see full wiki
An archeological mystery, a la Dan Brown, with high adventure reminiscent of Indiana Jones, John C Stipa’s No Greater Sacrifice takes readers on a rollicking ride through Europe to discover ancient secrets. Neat illustrations help explain the clues and might even leave readers slightly ahead of the investigators on occasion—satisfying if you’re usually the reader who struggles to catch up. A large cast of characters can be occasionally confusing, but they’re all tied together in the end, and lose ends soon turn into long-lost relationships. Archeologist Renee d’Arcadia is ill but translates her illness into an excuse to get the most out of what’s left of life. Ex-helicopter pilot David’s sickness lies in memories of the past. But these two wounded souls join forces when they’re invited to the reading of a will at a mysterious church in France. Emotions rise and fall while characters jump from childishly critical to expertly analytical, via some rather intimately described expressions of sexual tension. Sacrifices must indeed be made, in the name of science, truth, religion or something more. But eventually the madcap race is done and a nice logic imposes order on chaos. Everything has a purpose if you read to the end of this novel, and the gift bestowed at enormous risk has intriguing and pleasing implications. The Biblical “pi equals three” is replaced by 22 over 7, a number choice that always leaves this mathematician feeling slightly queasy, but this is a fun novel,lightened with neat puzzles, exciting adventures and a gentle touch of history.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this novel from the author in exchange for my honest review.