I always struggle to find something witty and fascinating to say when writing the introduction for a book review. So, I am going to open this review with just one sentence: if you like Dan Brown, you are going to love Glen Craney.
The Virgin of the Wind Rose is a Christopher Columbus mystery-thriller which tells the story of State Department lawyer Jaqueline Quartermane who must unlock the infamous Templar Word Square to thwart a global conspiracy that reaches across five centuries. In parallel, it also recounts Portugal’s Order of Christ back in the 15th century and the conspiracy theory of the real identity and mission of Christopher Columbus.
I was completely drawn in as the book opens in Ethiopia and I was introduced to various religious elements which were new and interesting to me. By the time the themes of Christianity and Judaism were brought into play, I was hooked. Religious mystery and the Templar Word Square are slowly unravelled to the reader through each chapter, as the story jumps back and forth between Portugal and the present day. Now, I have to admit that this complicated things for me as I really couldn’t distinguish very well what the connection was and how the two stories would combine until the very end. However, upon reading other reviews, I realise that I was probably the only person who didn’t know that the story in Portugal was the story of Christopher Columbus and his voyages to the New World. If that light bulb was switched on earlier I might have enjoyed this book a lot more.
Nevertheless, excluding whatever information I did and didn’t know from the beginning, I do think that this book dragged out a bit. While reading the last chapters, I found myself skimming a lot, just wanting to come an end and find out what happened. The ending did bring clarity and one shocking event I did not expect to happen.
Returning again to the positive, I do have to praise Craney’s writing. Whether or not the story was too long for me, he has a good way of presenting detail to the reader which allows them to paint a wonderful picture in their head,. There is also a superb knack for unravelling a story. Additionally, one cannot fault just how well-researched this book was. I absolutely love secrets from the past!
While certainly not a quick read, I have to put my personal preferences aside and recommend this book to you all. Delve into The Virgin of the Wind Rose when you have the time to read it slowly and carefully and savour every well-thought out element of the story. Like I already said, if you love Dan Brown, then this really is one for you.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.