About the Book:
Father Michael Dominic, prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives in Rome, is entrusted with the mission of transporting the original 17th-century trial documents of Galileo to Loyola Law School in Chicago. The stage is set for a modern historical mock trial of Galileo’s original heresy charges, commemorating the 400th anniversary of the legendary event.
In this riveting re-enactment, Galileo’s fate lies in the hands of the Vatican’s current chief prosecutor—a cunning bishop from the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith—and his defense, a distinguished law professor harboring a mysterious past. All the while, the Pope’s deteriorating health has the Roman Curia on edge, as ambitious contenders jockey for position in the anticipated papal election.
But the plot thickens when priceless historical exhibits vanish the night before the trial! With no time to lose, Father Michael’s team is forced to divide and conquer, pursuing every lead to recover the stolen treasures. As they face perilous twists and turns, they must also contend with shadowy plots from rival factions.
The stakes are high as Father Michael and his team race against time to uncover the truth behind this pulse-pounding mystery. With hidden agendas emerging from the shadows and help materializing from the most unexpected sources, loyalties are put to the ultimate test. Hold onto your seats and prepare for a tense ride as Father Michael courageously battles to unravel the enigmatic conspiracy known as The Galileo Gambit.
I have read all of McAvoy's novels and I think this may be the best one yet. That's probably because I have degrees in physics and theology and I have long been a student of the intersection of science and Scripture, the topic explored in this novel. The plot centers on the particular conflict that arose from the Catholic Church declaring as truth their interpretation of Scripture, that the earth was at the center. That did not correspond with what Galileo and earlier, Copernicus, observed, the sun being at the center. While the issue here is with the Catholic Church, I have seen the same kinds of conflict with Protestant declarations.
I like how McAvoy has taken this important issue and woven an engaging plot around it. Unlike the previous novels in this series, there is some suspense but Michael is not involved in very much of it. I like that as it allowed more of a focus on the Church and science issue as well as Michael as an individual and priest. There is a serious attack on his character and getting closer to the end of the novel had me holding my breath.
I appreciate McAvoy identifying fact and fiction in an afterward. I appreciate that most of the information about Galileo was factual. I liked learning some history from this novel. While it is down the line in series of novels featuring priest Michael, it reads well on its own and would be a good one to read to be introduced to how McAvoy blends history and intrigue in his novels.
My rating: 5/5 stars.
About the Authors:
Gary McAvoy began his writing career writing columns for a small town weekly newspaper and articles for a regional Southern California magazine. That laid the foundation for corporate communications work supporting his own and clients' businesses. He was fascinated with cryptology and intelligence during his U.S. Army tour in Germany. Following his military service, he built a number of successful ventures in Southern California and then moved to the Pacific Northwest. You can find out more about him and his books at https://www.garymcavoy.com/.
Ron Moore has an undergraduate degree in biology from University of California Riverside and a JD from Western State University College of Law, a master's in Forensic Toxicology from the University of Florida, and an AA in culinary arts from Saddleback College. He also obtained a Catholic Lay Ecclesial Minister certificate. He worked for over 18 years in forensics and CSI, the practiced law for 8 years before returning to forensics as a toxicology consultant. He was also an EMT for four years. He was a reserve deputy sheriff for over 14 years, assigned to the Search and Rescue unit. He was also a Sergeant in the Bloodhound Team. He holds a black belt in Judo and a brown belt in Aikido. Moore and his wife live in Southern California where he enjoys outdoor activities. You can find out more at https://www.ronaldlmoore.com/.
(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)