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Jerome Corsi’s “The Shroud Codex”

There’s just one problem with Dan Brown’s mega-blockbusters “Angels and Demons” and especially “The Da Vinci Code.” Though they’re entertaining, superbly crafted stories, underneath it all there’s always this not-so-subtle intent to inject doubt into believers and nudge them toward the soulless, cynical sophistication of modernity.

Now here comes No. 1 New York Times best-selling author Jerome Corsi with a novel – his first fiction effort – that combines the Vatican, particle physics, atheism, the Shroud of Turin, what appear to be dramatic supernatural events and much more, all into a stunning mystery of science and faith.

But the difference is that Corsi is taking the reader in the opposite direction than Dan Brown – toward faith, rather than away from it.

Dan Brown invents fictional historical events, like Jesus marrying Mary Magdalene, to provide the scandalous sizzle in his books. In “The Shroud Codex,” however, truth proves once again to be even stranger, more mysterious and more exhilarating than fiction. The Shroud of Turin is one of the most fascinating objects in the entire world and all of history, with some of the most recent and compelling science suggesting it could be – are you ready for this? – a virtual photographic representation of the moment of Jesus Christ’s resurrection.

Try topping that, writers, with some lame fictional plot theme.

Moreover, the plotline of “The Shroud Codex” centers around one of my very favorite premises – that despite the bombast of atheist provocateurs like Richard Dawkins, there is no actual conflict between real spirituality and real science. Both by definition are committed to objective truth. Indeed, the modern schism between faith and science is a historical anomaly. For centuries the world’s greatest scientists, from Copernicus to Galileo to Newton to Pasteur, regarded their scientific explorations as faith-enhancing proof of God’s creative genius.

I was frankly surprised at how good “The Shroud Codex” was. Don’t get me wrong. Jerome Corsi is one of the brainiest people I know, and being the author of two No. 1 best-sellers he obviously can write. But fiction? Every other title he’s written – “The Obama Nation,” “Unfit for Command” (with John O’Neill) and “America for Sale” among them – has been political nonfiction.

But sometimes a well-crafted story, rather than a linear nonfiction treatment, proves most effective at communicating deep things, at penetrating the inner regions of the reader’s mind and provoking serious reflection.

Even Jesus Christ himself saw fit to convey deep truths to people through made-up stories we call parables. No doubt, if there had been a better, more effective way to communicate such vital things to the masses, he would have done so.

One of my literary heroes, C.S. Lewis, long an atheist, came to believe in God and later in Christ because, as a master storyteller himself, he realized, with the help of literary colleagues J.R.R. Tolkien and Hugo Dyson, that God was using a story – in this case a wonderful, transcendent and true story – of Christ and his sacrifice to communicate His ultimate message of love and redemption to the human race.

True, Jerry Corsi is a far cry from God and Jesus, but it turns out he’s still a pretty darn good storyteller, and “The Shroud Codex” is a heck of a story.

Read this book. It will enhance your faith. Like Corsi, I have long been fascinated by the Shroud and believe it to be the actual burial cloth of Jesus Christ. The science of the Shroud – and the fact that even today, modern science cannot duplicate that ancient piece of linen cloth with the haunting and exquisitely detailed, blood-stained image of a crucified man – is truly amazing, and Corsi has captured it and presented it here with great dramatic flair. However, the science of the Shroud in this novel is not fiction, but the mind-boggling reality of a transcendent mystery no one can explain, and many are afraid to try.

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