The Vatican Conspiracy is like an fast-paced action thriller movie placed into a novel. Peter Hogenkamp’s writing takes you on an adventure with Marco Venetti, an Italian priest of a sleepy village within the country. But when he’s visited by his former temptress, Elena, he’s sucked into a world where he is forced to use his former navy training to take out terrorists who are trying to assassinate the pope and annihilate Vatican City.
I enjoyed reading about Marco’s struggle between his guilt for killing but also accepting that he has a mission sanctioned by the Church to help protect it and ridding the world of the bad guys. It was interesting to have Marco’s past kills haunt him every so often to the point that he is brought back right into those moments that his senses are overwhelmed with the sights, smells and emotions of them. It also brought the light that fact that Marco is human and has desires himself that he internally struggles against as he is a priest. But who knew a priest could have such high tactical skills to take down a group of terrorists along with a group of colleagues? It was such an interesting concept that made this an entertaining story.
The only thing that I would say I didn’t like was the first part of the story of the assassination attempt on the pope. It triggered anxiety for me reading about the mass protestors and violent people trying to take over St. Peter’s Square with the intent to cause destruction. Being a Catholic myself, it’s not exactly an image that I ever want to see. But this was a personal issue with the content and nothing at all to do with Hogenkamp’s writing. Also, it was a bit hard to keep track of who was saying what when a dialogue was happening between two characters as it didn’t state who said what sometimes. However, overall, this is the perfect book for those who love high speed encounters, as it will sure not disappoint in the action in this first book of the series.
“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned…” Marco Venetti has heard the words thousands of times before. But this is a cry for help, not absolution—and soon Marco finds himself racing against time to foil a conspiracy aimed at the heart of the Vatican…
It is an ordinary day in Marco Venetti’s quiet coastal parish—but the woman who’s come to confess is not ordinary. Marco has always been drawn to beautiful Elena, and she brings news that will shatter his peace.
Elena’s sister and daughter have been kidnapped, to force her to bring a gang of ruthless men into the country—if she doesn’t, her family will be brutally killed. But if she obeys, many more innocents will die… In her desperation she turns to Marco, knowing his time in the military has given him the skills she needs. Determined to protect her, Marco draws on the violent past he has tried to forget.
A terrifying battle on a rocky island offshore leaves no survivors. But after the last man is dead, Marco finds a note on one of the men’s bodies, a map that reveals their ultimate goal: a deadly terrorist attack on the Vatican City itself.
Marco and Elena find themselves racing to reach the Vatican City, and stop the deadly threat against the pope. But Marco quickly realises that his mission isn’t over. Accompanied by a CIA assassin, Marco must prevent a deadly weapon falling into the wrong hands or see a truly apocalyptic outcome. Once more he must confront his own darker nature, and decide whether a man of God can justify going to war…
For fans of Joel C. Rosenberg, Tom Clancy and Steven Konkoly, The Vatican Conspiracy is a non-stop explosive thriller of betrayal, revenge and world-shaking conspiracy.
Peter Hogenkamp was born in upstate New York and attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. (Go Crusaders!) He graduated in 1986 and was exiled to Europe for three years by his premedical adviser, for which he will be grateful the rest of his days. Spending the next three years - supposedly - teaching chemistry and algebra in Salzburg, Austria, he traveled extensively, drank a lot of beer and made many a lifelong friend. In his travels, he found dozens of great places for scenes in a thriller: castles perched on cliffs; monasteries tucked away in alpine valleys; villages built above rocky coastlines; cities soaked in history. When he isn't writing or hiking with his strong-willed Cairn Terrier, Hermione, Peter practices medicine with his lovely wife, Lisa (who does most of the heavy lifting), hosts Your Health Matters, which airs on cable television, streams on YouTube and sounds off on podcast, and tends to the needs of his four children.
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