My rating: 3+ of 5 stars to Arturo Pérez-Reverte‘s The Seville Communion, a Spanish-to-English translated thriller novel with a very intriguing story about the Catholic church, corporate corruption and love. This was a good book, and I’d recommend it to fans of the genre or of translated novels; however, it could have packed even more of a punch, which is why it falls somewhere between a 3 and 4.
Father Quart works in a special research unit (IEA — Investigation for External Affairs) within the Catholic church, and he is sent to Seville, Spain, where someone has hacked into the Pope’s personal computer to leave a message about helping a church about to be demolished. Quart, a young and handsome priest who follows the rules, finds himself torn between a lustful woman, different sides of the church and a town divided in what to do about the church. The land was deeded to the church hundreds of years ago as long as mass is said every Thursday in someone’s honor. But when a ruthless corporation and corrupt town government want to sell the land to make more money, everyone’s lives are in danger. The business man’s wife is in the papers for cheating on him and the priest who runs the church is suspected of murder. Who’s playing games and what’s really going on beneath the surface? Quart finds out in the end, but he never really knows who to trust.
The cast of characters is dynamic and complex. Within the church, you’ve got very different types of priests, and each one makes valid points about why their way is the right way. The woman having an affair almost makes you root for her to be successful against her husband, and her husband even comes off as respectable and honorable at many points. The 3 villains who have been hired to kill the priests are laughable and vivid. The lead priest, Father Quart, has a lot of depth, and you feel his struggle throughout the novel. I’m still unsure why he remains a priest, but it adds great conflict in his story and the church’s story.
The plot is very strong, but it is purposely revealed in small amounts to draw readers in. It works, but when you get to the last 50 pages, it unwinds rather quickly with very little backstory given to support why each person made the decisions they made. It is believable, yet you want more to help drive home the complexity of the story and the need for everyone to get what they wish for. With some tweaking and a few additional story points, this would be a very strong novel.
For fans of thrillers and those with interest in the Catholic church, this is a great read. It certainly says many good things and many bad things about the church, and there is a lot of history about Spain to draw comparisons and conclusions about what really happened in the early 20th century. The language is beautiful and the messages are vivid. Very few translation issues if anything to even comment on. I’d read more by this author… definite style!
This entry was posted in Book Review: Thriller & Suspense, Book Reviews and tagged arturo perez-reverte, author, book, book club, book review, Book Reviews, bookreview, books, catholic, church, corruption, devil, love, Murder, mystery, nun, priest, reverte, review, romance, seville, spain, spanish, suspense, thriller, war.