When I started this one, I had no idea what it was about. A chapter or two in, I though, "Oh, joy, another re-fictionalization of Holy Blood, Holy Grail!" and almost put it down. Instead, I decided to give it another chapter or two, since I'd just gotten to the first of the medieval sections, and I'm really glad I did. Yes, yes, it is, broadly speaking, another re-fictionalization of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, or at least in that genre, but it quickly diverges from that track and goes in a somewhat different, and more interesting direction. For one thing, it's a women's story when, even though Mary Magdalene (who, thankfully, does not appear in this novel in any form) is central to their plots, most of the others in this vein (I'm looking at you, Dan Brown) are distinctly men's stories. Additionally, excepting a few scenes from the central gospel upon which the story hinges, there is very little of the supernatural on display -- it's quite believable, even if one discounts The Hand of God as an invisible character. Most of the story could simply have...just happened. There's a small, polite nod to the international intrigue trope that is the meat of most HB/HG progeny, but it's kept peripheral, letting the real
story, the lives of the women (and men) doing good work in the world, shine!