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The Secret Supper

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Javier Sierra

The Da Vinci juggernaut rolls on, this time in the capable hands of a bestselling author in the Spanish-speaking world.The Secret Supperhas been ably translated by Alberto Manguel, author ofA History of Reading, that delightful revelation that squiggles … see full wiki

Tags: Book
Author: Javier Sierra
Publisher: Atria
1 review about The Secret Supper

An Enthralling Blend of History, Art, and Intrigue

  • Mar 21, 2006
Rating:
+5
Javier Sierra originally published this book in Spain in 2004 as 'La Cena Secreta' and it rapidly became a best seller in Europe. At last it is translated into English by Alberto Manguel as THE SECRET SUPPER and the book is bound to find its way onto the bestseller list rapidly! It is a tightly woven, suspense driven, elegant story of a secret that lay hidden in the Leonardo Da Vinci's painting 'The Last Supper', that secret threatening to undo to status of the Catholic Church in the 15th century.

Sierra is a scholar as well as a fine novelist and his previous investigative works on the Templars, the mystical nun Maria Jesus of Agreda as well as his thought provoking book on the Inca king Arahualpa's missing treasure serve him well as background in writing a credible novel about a controversial subject. Yes, the world is still reeling from the scandal of 'The Da Vinci Code', and some readers my think that here is yet another round of data about Christianity that is slipping along the success d'estime of that work. But be aware that this novel is wholly different and for this reader is far superior in the final resolution of the intial premise.

The year is 1497 and Javier Sierra accompanies us back in time to an era when the wealthy leaders of the communities of Milan and Florence and Rome had an unimaginably huge impact on the course of the great Roman Catholic Church. In Milan the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is being renovated under the guidance of the Duke of Milan. But Pope Alexander VI is concerned that heretical elements favoring the threatening schism within the Church will be established in the politically important and highly visible sanctuary. Among the many intrigues surrounding Milan's new structure is the one concerning the popular painter Leonardo Da Vinci whose painting of The Last Supper is found to exclude the holy icons of the Grail and the Eucharistic Bread. The painting also is found to include known heretics as models for some of the disciples who look away from the Christ figure, one suggestive of Leonardo himself. How the Pope's investigators and the perpetrators address these issues and the places of secrecy revealed by the gradually unfolding discoveries serves as not only an informative survey of history, but also a fascinating, immensely readable suspense thriller that keeps us riveted to the book until the final page where the ultimate secret is revealed.

If Alberto Manguel's English translation is sound (and since it was sanctioned by author Sierra himself it must be), then we have every reason to believe that here is a very important writer entering the English-speaking marketplace with one fine novel! Whether the reader is looking for a book of historical fiction, a novel of 15th century intrigue, or simply a fresh view of Da Vinci and of a new author, THE SECRET SUPPER is bound to please. The book design by Atria Books is splendid and enhances the reading experience. Graciously for those whose historical background needs some refurbishing, the book includes a 'Cast of Characters', outlining in a very readable fashion all of the 'players' of the period (Botticelli, Lorenzo the Magnificent, Ludivico Sforza, Pope Alexander Vi, etc) and for many, reading this terse glossary would be a fine way to begin this novel's woven tapestry of history. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, March 06

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