Monday, June 1, 2015

The Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell

Title: The Fifth Gospel
Author: Ian Caldwell
Read by: Jack Davenport
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Length: Approximately 15.5 hours (13 CDs)
Source: Simon & Schuster Audio Review Copy – Thank-you!

A murder has been committed in Vatican City in 2004.  Ugo, the man murdered, is the curator of a mysterious new exhibit that is being built at the Vatican Museums toward the twilight hours of Pope John Paul II’s papacy.  The man arrested for the murder is Father Simon Andreou, a Roman Catholic priest and Ugo’s best friend.  Father Simon’s brother Alex Andreou, a Greek Catholic Priest, starts his own investigation of both Ugo’s death and the break-in at his apartment on the same night as the murder.  What was Ugo working on in this mysterious exhibit and was it something that could have caused his murder?

I really enjoyed this audiobook. Jack Davenport was a superb narrator that had different voices for each of the characters.  I also liked how the audiobook ended with a children’s choir version of a favorite Christmas song.  

I found the entire premise of the story fascinating.  While I really enjoyed the mystery and wanted to see where it all lead too, I loved the background.   I thought the setting of two young boys growing up in Vatican City and now Fr. Alex with his own son Peter growing up in the Vatican City was fascinating.  I loved learning all about the inner workings and small town atmosphere of such a place.  I also loved learning about the schism between the Roman and Greek Catholic churches.  I knew it existed, but hadn’t really ever known why or what it would mean practically.  Having two brothers, one a Roman Catholic priest and one a Green Catholic priest as the main characters of this novel was inspired.  I loved it.

I also loved the detail on the Shroud of Turin and the “fifth gospel,” the Diatessaron.  This book really had me thinking and was a great intellectual thriller.  I have not read Ian Caldwell’s other novel, The Rule of Four, but one of my book club members recommended it years ago.  I definitely need to add it to my “to read” list.

If you are looking for a great thriller that has great characters, a fantastic setting, and wonderful details on Biblical history, I highly recommend The Fifth Gospel.


  1. Laura, this sounds like a fascinating audiobook. Wonderful review!

  2. This sounds interesting! Not my usual read, but I think I'd enjoy it.

  3. It was very interesting! A lot of great facts, an unusual setting, as well as suspense really brought it all together.