The Virgin of the Wind Rose

Adult
Rated 3.33/5 based on 3 reviews
Investigating an American missionary's murder in Ethiopia, State Dept. lawyer Jaqueline Quartermane discovers an ancient palindrome embedded with a cryptographic time bomb. Separated by half a millennium, two conspiracies dovetail in this thriller to expose the world’s most explosive secret: The real identity of Christopher Columbus and his connection to those now trying to ignite the End Times. More

Available formats: epub

About Glen Craney

Glen Craney is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, journalist, and lawyer. The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences awarded him the Nicholl Fellowship for best new screenwriting. His debut novel, The Fire and the Light, was named Best New Fiction by the National Indie Excellence Awards and an Honorable Mention winner by Foreword Magazine for its Book of the Year in historical fiction. He lives in southern California.

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Reviews

Review by: Tabby on July 04, 2014 :
4.25 Stars
An adventure end-of-the-world epic that spans centuries. This historical mystery is told in two separate storylines, one during the Age of Exploration and the other in contemporary times. Religious fanatics, spies, government conspiracies, and beautiful landscapes are included throughout. The author did some serious research. Perfect for Dan Brown or Steve Berry fans.

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(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: toastytoes on July 01, 2014 :
Review of The Virgin of the Wind Rose by Glen Craney

This novel intertwines the story of two groups of seekers, one historical and one in the present day, who foresee the End Days. Craney's research into history, geography, religions, mythology, and cryptography is mind-boggling in its scope, but his efforts to bring it all together into one thriller required more than this reader's “willing suspension of disbelief” could manage. The ideas and locations are intriguing, but the speed at which his protagonist must calculate, translate, travel, repeat is not believable. One palindromic square provides clue after clue, each discovered at just the right moment and in just the right circumstances. The protagonist herself is a lawyer working in the upper echelons of Washington, but who is also naive and gullible, yet capable of making mental leaps and bounds in the twinkling of an eye when it comes to codes, all while failing to grasp what is going on in her own life.
The thriller was provided to me by Library Thing as a Member Giveaway, in exchange for an honest review. All in all, The Virgin of the Wind Rose is an impressive collection of research and imagination that becomes too convoluted to work as a novel.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Kathleen Schmitt on May 14, 2014 :
VIRGEN OF THE WIND ROSE, THE
by Craney, Glen

a novel of espionage in the end times


Jaqueline is a literalist Christian involved in an evangelical group that believes in the rapture. She leans on the Rev. Merry for support, admires and trusts him. As the book opens she is waiting for the return of her fiance, Paul. But Paul doesn't return; he has been murdered in Ethiopia, not even the place where Jaqui thought he was. Determined to find out the truth about what happened and who he really was, Jaqui, an employee of the State Department USA heads to Ethiopia despite protests and warnings from her work superiors. From here, rather than resolving anything, her questions multiply and she feels driven to pursue the answers in the Middle East, the USA and even Canada. Her emotions become complicated when she meets a stranger in a church crypt in Ethiopia, at once threatening and attractive.

In a parallel story, three young men, members of the Order of Christ in thirteenth century Spain and Portugal engage in a plot for the Portuguese king against Spain in a quest to find India and all her riches before the Spanish do. That is what the Portuguese want Spain to think, anyway. The story is an entanglement of secret agents, Queen Isabella, peremptory deaths and betrayals and the struggle to succeed.

The mystery surrounds, on the one hand, what happened in history around the discovery of the New World, Christopher Columbus, and a quest to discover the Jewish Ark of the Covenant, hidden after the Roman destruction of the Jerusalem Temple; and, on the other hand, the modern belief based on prophecy that the Temple must be rebuilt in its original site, the Ark restored, and sacrificial rituals resumed before the End Time can come. Much of the mystery relies upon the deciphering of codes left by generations of descendants committed to protecting the secret location of the Ark of the Covenant.

Craney's writing is direct and well-paced. The characters are believable and well motivated. The historical material feels realistic and true to its era. Readers who are interested in cryptology will love this book, as may espionage and romance-suspense readers, the latter as long as they don't require that all will turn out well in the end. Some of the plot needs the suspension of belief when an international art thief moves about the world with ease, as well as our protagonist who both manages movement as well as figuring out the codes fairly rapidly, albeit step by step. The plot development intrigues, especially for those who can process and remember where we are in the decoding process. The serious reader might wish to keep a notebook by his/her side.

We gain insight into the murky world of interfaith relations from the times of peaceful co-existence to the Inquisition to the modern-day tensions of the Middle East. In this context we see how really closely related we all are, and how the strains of Judaism, Muslim and Christian intertwine in our own geneologies. Particularly, we have the opportunity to reflect on how powerful and would-be powerful people manipulate our racial and ethnographic differences in order to divide and conquer. In between the lines we can see the folly of humankind allowing itself to be so manipulated and a remote possibility of an ever-receding peace.

Craney's book provides much entertainment, historical imagination and insight, as well as fodder for serious reflection on current events.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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