No Greater Sacrifice


No Greater Sacrifice

 

Author: John Stipa

 

Berenger Sauniere, parish priest in the tiny French village of Rennes-le-Chateau, has a hidden secret that is about to cost him his life. . Facing him was the one man that could destroy his world and take everything that he worked hard to attain. Bishop Savard wants what Saunier has hidden: the cup of Christ and the  evidence that he  established a family in France. Claiming Saunier was granted huge sums of money to refurbish the church and keep the information quiet, Savard will do anything to obtain what he claims is rightfully his. What happens next is chilling. A heated discussion ensues. Threats are made on both sides. The Bishop even threatens a child in front of Saunier to get him to talk. Ultimately Saunier is tricked into taking a fatal sip of wine. But his actions before death cast doubt as to what Saunier’s secret truly is.

 

When Renee and David alight from the plane and arrive at Charles De Gaulle airport she is attacked getting off the plane, her plane ticket and passport stolen and the police are no where to be found. As we learn they too are in on this plot to stop her from finding out about the past and the murder. Just what their connection is and how far the corruption goes remains to be seen. The author then reveals the history of David’s secret and difficult past.

 

 

Beginning this mind provoking and intriguing novel with the murder of this Priest in 1917 author John Stipa captures the reader’s attention with the first word. The author moves ahead to 2006 where we meet a very special archeologist. Artifacts scattered throughout Europe and two people would be brought together by fate. Renee d’ Arcadia is the archaeologist who has been diagnosed with leukemia. Not allowing herself to become obsessed with her illness and definitely not giving up on life, she forges ahead in an unusual and exciting way. A chance meeting with a man named Dimitri would set her on a course that will bring about danger, a cave in and hopefully the cure for her illness as the author allows the reader to learn more about the Temple of Eleusis. Finding her way to the ruins she enters the tunnel and finds unexpected clues that lead to the past and the murder. A six pointed star, and five additional symbols are all recorded in her journal but what happens as a result of her escapades causes a huge cave in but the end result is not for nothing. While showing her friend what she was able to recover Renee is called to France for the reading of a will that will bring her face to face with several strange and unusual people that along with Renee, go on a journey searching for clues to a one hundred year old mystery and the death of the priest.  Renee meets David Arturo and the instant chemistry between them is electrifying. But, what she does next you just won’t believe and their connection will be the reading of the will.

 

When David reveals their connection and their family backgrounds Renee learns more about the death of Berenger Sauniere, the Parish Priest at the Rennes le Chateau and the three men who created a scandal there and disappeared. But, the bodies of these men were exhumed at the exact place of the reading of this will. Added to the mix the author reveals to Renee through David that Sauniere made a huge discovery and blackmailed the Vatican into giving him funds to restore the church. Rumor has it that the priest knew where the Ark of Covenant was or even King Solomon’s gold. Whatever this worldly treasure is the rumor is that it might be found exactly where they are going.

 

We finally meet the players at the reading of the will. The straight-laced curator Suzanne Domsa, her ancient assistant Gerard Tremblay,  Paul Meehutch, a man’s who’s girth is only exceeded by his pompousness, willowy Melanie LaSalette, who seems to have some kind of hold on David, shifty Louis Voison, the elderly statesman Jean-Claude d’ Hautpol and smooth talking Pierre Rousseau, a lawyer presiding over the affairs. The author shares the history of the time, a tour of the church and the cemetery with the reader. Then, Tremblay locks eyes with Renee and asks that she return to the cemetery that night for a clandestine meeting. More about the estate and Saunier’s secret are revealed. But the meeting proves fatal for one of the members, but not before the information sends them on a search for their past.  Who witnessed Saunier’s murder and what happened to the boy that was tortured? Who were the three men blamed for the murder and how does it all connect to the bodies found in the garden? Who is behind the murder?

 

A coincidence or maybe something else as both David and Renee realize they have the same bronze artifact and he reveals a photo of a stone tablet called the Ninnion Tablet which depicts a sacred ceremony carried out in the Temple of Eleusis. We finally meet the players at the reading of the will. The curator Suzanne Domsa, her assistant Monsieur Tremblay, lawyers, Meehatch, Melanie La Salette who seems to have some kind of hold on David, Louis Voison, Monsieur d’ Hautpol and Rousseau. When the initial bestowments were made the recipients were told to leave the room while the remaining three would receive their inheritances. But, what no one realized is that they were being monitored.

 

The author shares the history of the time, the tour of the church and the cemetery with the reader. Then Gerard Tremblay the assistant curator locked eyes with Renee and asked she return to the cemetery with her bronze pieces. As Renee, David and Meehutch team up to find out just what is behind the reason they were requested to attend a special meeting at 11:30 at night, more about the estate and the priest’s secret are revealed. But the meeting proves fatal for one of the members but not before the information revealed sends them on a search for their past. The Priest found some gold coins that he used to fund the church and the connection to their ancestor’s revealed. Just who witnessed the murder of the Priest and what happened to the boy that was being tortured? Who were the three men that were blamed for his murder and how does it all connect to the bodies found in the garden? Who is behind the murder that takes place in the church?

 

When David meets with Domsa he learns more about her than he cares to and as a result confesses his past to Renee. What is Suzanne’s real motive for wanting to deceive them all and who is behind it remains to be seen? As the puzzle pieces come together and the information is made clearer where does the Star of David fit in, how many more pieces have to be found and how do the seven deadly sins fit in?  As the past comes full circle to the present the author will reveal just how these small pieces of bronze and bequests in a will tie to the Ark of Covenant, the Cup of Christ and to the great grandfathers of Renee, David and Meehutch. The author brings the story to life with his graphic illustrations, his vivid descriptions and the mystery that remained unsolved for so many years. Take the journey all over the world across Europe, Greece, Stonehenge and Poland to help Renee and David find the missing pieces of the puzzle and where the hidden treasures lie.

 

The final pieces are about to come together and the letters to the puzzles just might give them the answers they need but will one man stop them again? Who is this Spider and why is the curator working with him? The secret to her past about to unfold and many things about her life would be revealed but would they survive? What role do Rousseau and Pelletier have and just how does Jean-Claude D’Hautpol fit in? When Renee and David have a falling out she is left unprotected. What will the end result be when he realizes she has disappeared and who can be trusted and who cannot? Twists, turns, jumps and falls will all take place before all is said and done and who will make the final sacrifice? An ending so intense and the final accounting you will have to learn for yourself as both Renee and David risk more than their lives to find the truth behind their legacies and much more.

The author brings the story to life with his graphic illustrations, his vivid descriptions and the mystery that remained unsolved for so many years. Take the journey all over Europe, to Italy, Greece, France, Stonehenge and Poland to help Renee and David find the missing pieces of the puzzle and where the hidden treasures lie.  Ancient artifacts, historical figures, secret caverns and codes that need to be unlocked, this novel takes you on a fast paced roller coaster ride with pitfalls, action that will keep you glued to the printed page and an ending hoping that the author will bring back Renee and David for another adventure. Characters so well defined with humor, banter and crisp dialogue, author John C. Stipa is right up there with Berry, Eliot Patterson and Brown.

 

Fran Lewis: reviewer

Let’s give this book : FIVE BRONZE ARTIFACTS

 

 

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