New York Times best-selling author Jerome Corsi is a name to be recognized for accomplishments in the non-fiction genre. He’s been writing for years, but exploded onto the national scene in 2004 when he helped run aground John Kerry’s campaign with “Unfit for Command.”
With books such as “The Obama Nation” and “America for Sale” to his investigative credit, “The Shroud Codex” is his stunning first debut into the fiction world. The result of years of study by Corsi into the fabric of the Shroud of Turin story (reputed to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ), “The Shroud Codex” makes for a terrific thriller.
An aside: I once had the privilege of having dinner and a stroll through Manhattan with Corsi, and this man is one of the country’s most important thinkers, standing up to corruption and evil at the highest levels. He is an American patriot, and I’m thrilled to see him use his considerable talents now in the world of fiction.
“The Shroud Codex,” to use a hackneyed (but in this case, relevant!) phrase, reads like a movie.
When former physicist-turned-Jesuit Priest Father Paul Bartholomew is killed in a car accident, it results in his journey to heaven, where he is reunited with his beloved mother. He is then issued a challenge by God, in which Bartholomew is free to accept or decline and stay in paradise. If he chooses, he is to return to Earth and reveal the codex found in the Shroud of Turin that will lead people to faith.
A hallmark of the television show “Mission Impossible” always showed Phelps receiving his instructions on a tape that then self-destructs and Phelps is free to choose or decline the mission. In his similar challenge from God, Bartholomew is warned it will be a long, arduous journey. He will be in rehab for three years and then has 30 days to prove to the world the Shroud of Turin has a hidden message for all of humanity. God promises to place people in his life to help with this mission. Bartholomew accepts and finds himself back on Earth, with a broken body from the car crash and a new purpose in life.
After the three-year period is up, Bartholomew strangely becomes physically altered to resemble the image of the man seen on the Shroud of Turin. Not only does he start to perform miracles of healing, but he starts experiencing the stigmata associated with the crucifixion of Christ. At this point, the Vatican becomes involved.
A top-notch (atheist!) psychiatrist, Dr. Stephen Castle, is called in to question the sanity of Bartholomew and help reveal the possibility of a hoax.
He is aided by his researcher and chemist friend that has made it his life’s mission to debunk miracles. Castle’s view of religion is that “people invent God to satisfy their own inadequacies and make up for their own perceived fears and deficiencies.” Thrown in the mix is a television reporter out for the story that will seal his personal success in the media world.
The book is a combination of physics and chemistry, atheism vs. faith, reality and the unknown. “The Shroud Codex” is a gripping read that will keep you guessing until the very last page. The book does an excellent job of delving into the scientific approach to the Shroud, answering questions for the reader on the mystery of it all. Is it the real thing, the actual covering that was used to wrap the dead body of Jesus Christ, or a giant hoax? Even the Vatican won’t choose a side. By the end of the book, the reader will have the same choice to decide – truth or fiction!
“The Shroud Codex” is a bit reminiscent of “Twilight Zone,” as it looks at another dimension:
“Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas.” Not only does “The Shroud Codex” propose a fifth dimension, but up to 10 dimensions that we are unaware of in our world today. The combination of science and gumshoe investigation gives this novel a broader market, as a variety of readers will find plenty to focus on.
As it happens, Bartholomew is able to navigate back through time to the actual crucifixion of Christ and then return to the 21st century. The time travel is fascinating in itself and an effective plot device, and the reader will walk away with a better understanding of physics and chemistry, much more excitingly presented than in a classroom!
Father Bartholomew was able to “create an experiment beyond what we consider the normal laws of nature, in full view of the world, accomplishing the mission God sent him back to Earth to accomplish.”
Even Dr. Castle is forced to admit, “When physics begins contemplating God, I might have no choice other than to do the same.”
Even so, one is led to faith through a choice to believe, no matter what science points to. Dr. Castle walks away a changed man, in more ways than he could have imagined.
Corsi has a Ph.D in political science from Harvard, and his years of rich investigation and honed writing ability make him a natural to cross over into fiction. The Shroud remains one of the most (can we say) iconic relics in all of history, and no matter what one believes about it, the mystery of it all is compelling.
So is this offering from Corsi; read and enjoy!