Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kathy Reviews - Image of a Man: A Novel of the Shroud of Turin by V. G. Bortin

ASIN #: B005B1AN8C
File Size: 575 KB
Page Count: 293
Copyright: July 6, 2011
Publisher: Cambria Publishing; 2nd Edition

Book Summary:
(Taken from Smashwords)

The beautiful, skeptical young American Reporter, Molly Madrigal:

"Since the beginning, so many people have confronted the relic - soldiers and saints, kings, fools, and lovers. And central to all their encounters has been the image of a man."

The old Italian priest, Monsignor Vittorio Monti, Keeper of the Shroud:

"The real miracle is quite clear. Not the image of a man, and how it got there. But the Shroud itself, surviving two thousand years of man against man, not as an object - but as an inspiration. Now and for time yet unrealized ..."

One man wanted to steal it - to hold Christendom's priceless relic for ransom.

One man wanted to test it - to learn the secrets that had been written in its folds for centuries.

And one man wanted only to protect it ...

It is the Shroud of Turin. In Image of a Man is the cornerstone of two powerful dramas: a twentieth-century story of romance, suspense and faith - and a richly detailed account of the Shroud's own journey through two thousand years of man's history - from first century Jerusalem through the triumphs and tragedies of the ancient and medieval worlds; from events in Constantinople, Venice, and Paris, to Poitiers and Chambery - wherever those who protected the Shroud lived, loved, fought and died.

Kathy's Review:

The story jumps between 1978 when a Molly Madgiral, a reporter, is asked to travel to a public display of the Shroud and encounters an old flame as well as a former racecar driver turned archaeologist, both with interest in the Shroud, eventually finding herself in the middle of a plot to steal the Shroud; and also goes back in history to the time when Jesus lived, the origin of the Shroud, and those who are entrusted with the relic's safekeeping (the guarding of Shroud was to stay in the same family line and handed down from generation to generation). The story travels through the centuries with each keeper of the Shroud and the struggles and sometimes treachery that go along with the desire for such an important piece of Christianity.

Familiar historical names come in and out of the story, so those who enjoy history will especially like this story. Honestly, I am neither a historical fiction fan or particularly religious, but I have heard of the Shroud and was curious to see the author's take on its authenticity. Although this is a fictional account, I think the author did a fine job of depicting the time periods, as well as the characters.

Some of the historical depictions interested me more than others. I liked the story of Marguerite, a woman who grows old with no children, and of Jacques, whose hands were burned saving the Shroud from a fire. I also really liked the story of the time of Christ, of Melchi, the original keeper of the Shroud, who saw Jesus crucified, then saw his tomb empty, and later in life followed St. Peter. The present day (1978) story wasn't that interesting to me, as it reminded me of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. I think I would have rather spent more time in the past with some of the guardians of the Shroud.

Those are just my reservations. I thought this book was well done, and would wholeheartedly recommend to historical fiction lovers, as well as anyone interested in this topic.

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