What if seems to be a good starting point for a new novel! What if Hitler had survived? What if Germany won World War II? What if the Mafia had killed JFK? There are many interesting scenarios as the starting point for a good yarn. The Chimera Sanction introduces, what if the Pope was kidnapped. Of course, this is not completely novel as an event. In fact, Pope Pius VI died in captivity, while his successor Pope Pius VII was held hostage for five years.
Summary The Chimera Sanction
Pope Clement XXI is kidnapped, and the Curia, the Swiss Guard and the Italian police are overwhelmed. Thierry Dulac from Interpol is called in, but he too is thwarted at every turn. His investigations hint at secrets held for centuries, revenge and omerta in the arcane, twisting corridors of the Vatican itself. It seems the pontiff too has been less than open.
So there is much intrigue with plenty of historical facts to lend an element of truth to the scenario. As with many thrillers, there are plenty of twists – some perhaps bordering on the improbable! However, the pace is good, and the reader is drawn into the plot. A la Dan Brown, religious zealots have created havoc, and the Cathars once again feature in the storyline without much credibility.
In all, an easy read for a holiday or journey with this pacy international thriller. The characterisations are a bit thin, and the story flits from location to location without much colour or detail. There is a delicate balance in a thriller between pace and detail. Unfortunately, The Chimera Sanction fails on that front. The idea is interesting but perhaps the writing needs to be more colourful.