The Book of Q
In his national bestseller The Overseer , Jonathan Rabb demonstrated his imaginative power and keen understanding of history with a superb thriller that dazzled critics and fans alike. The Book of Q now brings his gifts to full, stunning fruition.
Asia Minor, sixth century: After several centuries of conflict with the early Christian church, the Manichaeans, a heretical sect, vanish from the historical record.
Bosnia, 1992: Ian Pearse, a young American relief worker destined for the priesthood, has his faith tested by the horrors of war, but is jolted from his despair by a passionate affair with a Croatian woman named Petra.
Rome, present day: Father Pearse, now a researcher at the Vatican Library, comes into possession of an ancient scroll after the mysterious death of one Vatican priest and the disappearance of another. His scholar's curiosity aroused, he has the document translated by an old friend in Rome. He is stunned to learn that the scroll contains ingeniously coded letters and the text of the "Perfect Light," a Manichaean prayer that has never been found in its written form.
In the early days of the Christian church the Manichaeans had been an overly zealous, highly organized secret society, scorned by the church and seemingly driven out of existence. But these newly discovered documents indicate an earth-shattering alternate history, a long-dormant, highly evolved conspiracy carefully nurtured for centuries, and an even more important scroll hinted at in the letters that will facilitate "the great awakening."
When the pope dies of a sudden illness, Pearse is roughed up by Vatican security, who want the scroll, and when the woman who translated the prayer for him is kidnapped, he realizes that "the great awakening" is not an academic concept but something very real and dangerous. With his friend's life at stake, Pearse must find the document that holds the key to this Manichaean conspiracy.
Racing from the Vatican to Greece and back to Bosnia, Pearse has to decipher the cryptograms and codes that have been passed down for centuries from one Manichaean sect to another in the documents he finds. He is also reunited with Petra, the passionate, determined Croatian woman who has lingered in his mind since their time together in Bosnia years earlier. Together they must face a heresy that has been vigilantly guarded and cared for throughout the centuries until the time is right to unleash it on the world. And the time is now. . . .
New York : Crown Publishers, 2001.
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