I grew up in an Irish Catholic family, hearing about the miracle at Fatima, where the Virgin Mary appeared to three Portuguese children in 1917. Our Lady appeared several times, asking the children to pray the rosary.
I never dreamt that nearly 100 years after the miracle, I’d read a fabulous thriller, The Barbarossa Covenant, that tied one of the children (now Sister Lucia) to a plot to save England from a Nazi attack during World War II.
Author Ian O’Connor successfully brings the miracle, England’s war strategy, the Russian czars and the present-day papacy together in a fast-paced plot that threatens to destroy the Vatican. Justin Scott, a retired FBI agent, lands in the middle of a terrorist attack when he arrives in Rome at the invitation of a cardinal. The Pope needs him to verify the authenticity of a letter in time to prevent catastrophe.
The characters interact seamlessly with historical figures and events. At one point, Scott visits Queen Elizabeth II in a well-written scene. Once you enter O’Connor’s world, the plot is believable and he ties historical eras and events together to offer readers a great read. Suspenseful, yes indeed, and you’ll most likely discover some new little piece of history.
"Author O'Connor...has written a nifty thriller that...holds reader interest with his breakneck plot...fits nicely in the Tom Clancy-meets-Dan Brown canon." -- Kirkus Reviews
Past and present collide in the opening pages of The Barbarossa Covenant when retired FBI agent Justin Scott becomes a target for assassination while en route to Rome at the behest of the Vatican's secretary of state. Before learning why, the reader is whisked back to 1940 wartime London where British Intelligence is working feverishly on an audacious plan to thwart the imminent cross-channel Nazi invasion. With England's fate hanging in the balance, a papal emissary hand-delivers a sealed letter to Adolf Hitler from a source no mortal would dare ignore or disobey. The letter is lost to history in 1945 with the fall of Berlin--only to surface without warning in the Vatican seven decades later. Penned by an unimpeachable source, it states with a God-given certitude that the time of the Dies Irae (The Day of Wrath) is now. A very troubled pope wants Justin to authenticate or disprove both message and messenger--an admitted all but impossible task as the Doomsday Clock readies to strike midnight.