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Solving a 100-year-old murder mystery

Book Review: No Greater Sacrifice by John C. Stipa

An unexpected summoning to France for the reading of a will draws together a strangely damaged group of individuals. Renee d’ Arcadia, an archaeologist, recently diagnosed with terminal leukemia, David Arturo, a war veteran with a troubled past, Paul Meehutch, an extremely large, overweight man with a chip on his shoulder but full of knowledge, and Gerard Tremblay, assistant curator of the church where the reading is to take place, elderly and yet strangely spry.

This is just the beginning of a journey that will send them into the past, and involve them in a 100-year-old mystery resulting in the death of Father Berenger Sauniere, the parish priest of the Rennes-le-Chateau.

It will take all their wits and experience as well the hidden clues only hinted at in different works of literature, to find the truth. They must race against the clock to find the answers before a sinister group of individuals — bent on evil and the destruction of the church — discover them. Gerard Tremblay has many of the answers and as he begins to fill them in, he too is brutally murdered. With danger and death at every turn, will they find the answers in time?

What they find in each other will give them the strength to overcome evil and find the truth of the murder at the Rennes-le-Chateau.

No Greater Sacrifice is an intriguing book that is full of depth and extremely captivating. I am generally a quick reader, but because there was such an array of beautiful and interesting places and things, I took my time and savored the story. The characters were flawed and yet dynamic, demanding your pity or anger at times, and yet drawing your admiration in situation after situation. The interaction between them is funny and down to earth, displaying a real and human face that makes you miss them when they are gone.

Even with the immense amount of background surrounding the story, it was easy to follow. The clues were ingenuous and created a kind of “Indiana Jones” feel, with our friends ducking and dodging the dangers as they manifested.

John C. Stipa has created a fiction that makes you laugh and makes you cry; it is full of ugliness and beauty, and at every turn of the page, anticipation builds. There is a ribbon of hope woven throughout the story, so while it is sometimes a bit dark, the hope adds a lightness that keeps the evil — which also twists its way though the story — at bay.

No Greater Sacrifice is a great story and I would recommend it to anyone who loves mysteries, romance, and danger. Stipa has created it all and set a pace that keeps you moving. The book is quite reminiscent of the Da Vinci Code in the complexity of its theme.

A great choice for a book club or reading group, No Greater Sacrifice is definitely one for your library, to be read and savored periodically when you are looking for a story full of hope.

About Leslie Wright

Leslie Wright is an author and blogger in the Northwest.

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