In Los Angeles, Jennifer Narody has been having a series of disturbing dreams involving eerie images of a lady dressed in blue. What she doesn't know is that this same spirit appeared to leaders of the Jumano Native American tribe in New Mexico 362 years earlier, and was linked to a Spanish nun capable of powers of "bilocation," or the ability to be in two places simultaneously.
Meanwhile, young journalist Carlos Albert is driven by a blinding snowstorm to the little Spanish town of Ágreda, where he stumbles upon a nearly forgotten seventeenth-century convent founded by this same legendary woman. Intrigued by her rumored powers, he delves into finding out more.
These threads, linked by an apparent suicide, eventually lead Carlos to Cardinal Baldi, to an American spy, and ultimately to Los Angeles, where Jennifer Narody unwittingly holds the key to the mystery that the Catholic Church, the U.S. Defense Department, and the journalist are each determined to decipher -- the Lady in Blue.
When I read The Secret Supper by this author, I was quite pleased to find a new author that I enjoyed reading. So when I saw this book at the library, it was a no-brainer for me - I borrowed it straight away! Unfortunately, for me, this was nowhere near as good as The Secret Supper. Maybe it is because it is supposed to be much more of a thriller style novel, but it certainly didn't have the thrills if that is the case.
This book is made up of a series of very short chapters telling four different stories that in the end converge in the climax (or perhaps slight peak?) at the end of the novel. This, for me, was one of the major flaws in this novel. The chapters are so short that with each change of chapter and also storyline, it just felt incredibly choppy to me!
The four threads follow quite different people - the first is a young woman by the name of Jennifer Narody who lives in Los Angeles. She is consulting with a psychiatrist because she has been having incredibly vivid dreams about the past, about a time that she could know nothing about. She is somewhat restricted in what she can tell her therapist because of the secrecy surrounding the nature of her previous employment, which included time spent working for the government and in a joint project with the Vatican in Rome.
which was trying to scientifically generate the ability to The second is about Carlos Albert. He is a somewhat jaded young man, working for what sounded like it was kind of a like a paranormal magazine, following up on stories that make you go hmmm. He is being drawn/led to a story about people who have the ability to bilocate. Several months previously he had interviewed a priest about a project called Chronovisionbilocate. Chronovision is a Vatican project which is investigating the phenomenon of being able to bilocate which they want to use to be able to use people to actually view historical events as they happen. When, during a severe snowstorm Carlos and his companion coincidentally finds that the only open road leads them to a small town where he finds the priory where nearly 400 years before a young nun had the ability to bilocate, he decides to dig further or to use the correct vernacular, to follow the signs.
Our third thread mentions the aforementioned priest, Cardinal Baldi, who spoke to Carlos about Chronovision. For his slip up about the ultra top secret project, he has been called to Rome, and breaking the rules about not having direct contact with the other members of the project, he arranges to meet one of the other members, only to find out that the other man had just apparently committed suicide, and now his own life is in danger. He must also follow the signs to try and discover what the other members of the group had been working on, and who and why someone wants to put an end to the project.
The fourth, and quite frankly, most interesting aspect of the story, focused on the events of 400 years ago with the appearances of the Lady in Blue to the native Americans in what would now be New Mexico I believe. As the missionaries were sent to the newly acquired lands by the Spanish government, they were astounded to find that there were already many converts to Christianity who claimed to have seen a Lady in Blue, or at least paved the way for conversion.
Since the publication of The Da Vinci Code there has been many novels published exploring the various aspects of church conspiracies and mysteries. This is yet another. The one saving grace for this novel is that it is not about Mary Magdelene!
With a top secret studies focusing on music providing the key ingredient on how to bilocate, angels in red high heels committing crimes like theft kidnapping and terrorism, this is a hodge podge that failed to fully engage my attention, and was definitely a disappointment for me.
Perhaps one of my main issues was that every time Chronovision was mentioned I couldn't help but think of the Chronoguard from Jasper Ffordes Thursday Next series? It certainly didn't help!