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The Seville Communion
ISBN 0151002835 / 9780151002832 / 0-15-100283-5
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Spain's Arturo Perez-Reverte continues his string of comfortably old-fashioned, modestly intellectual thrillers with a touching and suspenseful story of faith and duty, set in the timeless and enchanting city of Seville. "In Seville different histories were superimposed and interdependent," he writes, aided by Sonia Soto's seamless translation. "A rosary stringing together time, blood and prayers in different languages beneath a blue sky and wise sun that leveled everything over the centuries. Stone survivors that could still be heard. You just had to forget for a moment the camcorders, postcards, coaches full of tourists and cheeky young girls, and put your ear to the stones and listen." As in his previous surprise bestsellers--The Club Dumas and The Flanders Panel, both available in paperback--Perez-Reverte takes a supposedly cool observer and turns the person into a hot-blooded participant in the action. In The Seville Communion it's Father Lorenzo Quart, who works for an investigative branch of the Vatican that is referred to by an angry, upstaged Archbishop of Seville as "you and your mafiosi in Rome, playing God's police." Father Quart, a very attractive man with prematurely gray hair cropped short, wears expensive suits and has to fight off the women who test his vows of celibacy. His toughest challenge is a breathtaking, titled beauty named Macarena, whose banker husband is at the center of a plot to tear down a historic church. Two people have already been killed because of the intrigue, and more violence threatens as Father Quart is pursued by a trio of ineptly dangerous villains, straight out of Bogart's Beat the Devil, through the gorgeous streets of a city to die for. [via]