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The Third Secret

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Although I enjoyed how Berry trashed the Catholic Church to its core, this book was not as believable as his others. It was a great read because of the combination of fiction with history.

The Third Secret by Steve Berry

On July 13, 1917, the Virgin appeared to three shepherds at Cova de Iria in Fatima, Portugal. Jacinta and Francisco died three years after the apparitions but Lucia lived until her nineties in a convent. On that day, the Virgin gave th...
The Third Secret by Steve Berry

On July 13, 1917, the Virgin appeared to three shepherds at Cova de Iria in Fatima, Portugal. Jacinta and Francisco died three years after the apparitions but Lucia lived until her nineties in a convent. On that day, the Virgin gave the two girls a secret that would be part of the three secrets of Fatima. The first two secrets were revealed shortly after the 1917 apparitions, but the third secret was not made public until the year 2000, when John Paul II finally released the text. Sister Lucia, who was forbidden by the Church to talk about the Third Secret, made no public statements about its release. The Third Secret was anticlimactic--a complete metaphor that makes little sense. Consequently, many observers--including some high ranking Vatican officials--believe there might be more to the message. This is the basis for Steve Berry's novel--The Third Secret.

The novel opens with Pope Clement XV--Jacob Vakner--the first German pope since Pope Stephen IX, (sometimes counted as Stephen X) Friedrich von Lothringen, 1057-1058, who has succeeded John Paul the II. Clement is affected by something he has read in the Secret Archives of the Vatican. Clement was a pope elected at age 82, and he was meant to be a transitional pope until another one could be selected. After he reads this documents, his behavior starts to be erratic and his health starts to deteriorate.

Monsignor Colin Michener is the personal secretary of the pope, and a close friend. Pope Clement absolved his indiscretions with a Rumanian woman, Katerina Lew, while he was in his thirties and studying law. He was an orphan in Ireland, where the Catholic Church took the babies from unwed mothers and adopted them out to Americans against the wishes of the single mothers. Now in his sixties, he is given a task: to find father Andrej Tibor, retired priest in his eighties, who translated from Portuguese the Third Secret in 1917. Father Tibor caters to orphans in Zlanta, Rumania.

There is also a tribunal to excommunicate father Thomas Kealy, who has a big following because he believes the Church should stop the vows of celibacy. He is dating Katerina Lew and she meets Michener in Rome. Alberto Cardinal Valendrea, The Vatican's Secretary of State, is conducting the tribunal. Valendrea was supposed to be elected Pope at the last conclave a year and a half ago, and he is making sure he will be elected pope as soon as Clement dies. He is one of the few people that knows of the Third Secret and he knows it's a threat to the Church. So he has his assistant, father Paolo Ambrosi, follow Michener to Zlanta, Rumania, using Katerina as his spy. Ambrosi and Valendrea kill Andrej Tibor to prevent the contents of the Third secret to be known.

Meanwhile, Pope clement orders Michener to Medjugorje, Bosnia where another Virgin apparition has happened for the last 20 years and orders him to get the Tenth Secret revealed by the Virgin to the people there.

Just after this, Clement commits suicide because he had a vision and the Virgin ordered him to atone for his sins by killing himself. Michener is surprised when Maurice Cardinal Ngovi from Nigeria--the Camerlengo and thus in charge of the transition--asks Michener to go to Medjugorje, Bosnia anyway. Katerina is again recruited by Ambrosi to spy on Michener, but this time she does it only because she has fallen in love with Michener.

The conclave occurs and Ngovi and Valendrea are the two top contender

posted by carlosmock on May 16, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

interesting, but felt disappointed by the secret

If anyone feels let down by the secret revealed in this novel, you need to read Miriam's Garden and Miriam's Secret by Mary Reyna. These books are not like The DaVinci Code. They are very original and inspiring. The messages in these mysteries make so much sense.

posted by Ruth29 on January 23, 2011

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  • Posted May 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Although I enjoyed how Berry trashed the Catholic Church to its core, this book was not as believable as his others. It was a great read because of the combination of fiction with history.

    The Third Secret by Steve Berry

    On July 13, 1917, the Virgin appeared to three shepherds at Cova de Iria in Fatima, Portugal. Jacinta and Francisco died three years after the apparitions but Lucia lived until her nineties in a convent. On that day, the Virgin gave the two girls a secret that would be part of the three secrets of Fatima. The first two secrets were revealed shortly after the 1917 apparitions, but the third secret was not made public until the year 2000, when John Paul II finally released the text. Sister Lucia, who was forbidden by the Church to talk about the Third Secret, made no public statements about its release. The Third Secret was anticlimactic--a complete metaphor that makes little sense. Consequently, many observers--including some high ranking Vatican officials--believe there might be more to the message. This is the basis for Steve Berry's novel--The Third Secret.

    The novel opens with Pope Clement XV--Jacob Vakner--the first German pope since Pope Stephen IX, (sometimes counted as Stephen X) Friedrich von Lothringen, 1057-1058, who has succeeded John Paul the II. Clement is affected by something he has read in the Secret Archives of the Vatican. Clement was a pope elected at age 82, and he was meant to be a transitional pope until another one could be selected. After he reads this documents, his behavior starts to be erratic and his health starts to deteriorate.

    Monsignor Colin Michener is the personal secretary of the pope, and a close friend. Pope Clement absolved his indiscretions with a Rumanian woman, Katerina Lew, while he was in his thirties and studying law. He was an orphan in Ireland, where the Catholic Church took the babies from unwed mothers and adopted them out to Americans against the wishes of the single mothers. Now in his sixties, he is given a task: to find father Andrej Tibor, retired priest in his eighties, who translated from Portuguese the Third Secret in 1917. Father Tibor caters to orphans in Zlanta, Rumania.

    There is also a tribunal to excommunicate father Thomas Kealy, who has a big following because he believes the Church should stop the vows of celibacy. He is dating Katerina Lew and she meets Michener in Rome. Alberto Cardinal Valendrea, The Vatican's Secretary of State, is conducting the tribunal. Valendrea was supposed to be elected Pope at the last conclave a year and a half ago, and he is making sure he will be elected pope as soon as Clement dies. He is one of the few people that knows of the Third Secret and he knows it's a threat to the Church. So he has his assistant, father Paolo Ambrosi, follow Michener to Zlanta, Rumania, using Katerina as his spy. Ambrosi and Valendrea kill Andrej Tibor to prevent the contents of the Third secret to be known.

    Meanwhile, Pope clement orders Michener to Medjugorje, Bosnia where another Virgin apparition has happened for the last 20 years and orders him to get the Tenth Secret revealed by the Virgin to the people there.

    Just after this, Clement commits suicide because he had a vision and the Virgin ordered him to atone for his sins by killing himself. Michener is surprised when Maurice Cardinal Ngovi from Nigeria--the Camerlengo and thus in charge of the transition--asks Michener to go to Medjugorje, Bosnia anyway. Katerina is again recruited by Ambrosi to spy on Michener, but this time she does it only because she has fallen in love with Michener.

    The conclave occurs and Ngovi and Valendrea are the two top contender

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2010

    Good Read

    As usual Steve Berry has blown my mind. He always makes me think about the "what if". However, I was disappointed that it wasn't part of the Cotton Malone saga. I've read all his books, except one and I'm in the progress of doing that now. Can't wait for him to write another.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2007

    A reviewer

    I love to read what I call 'Crappy Da Vinci Code Knock-offs' and that's exactly what all of Berrys books are. But you know what, that's ok! His books are always good fun and are real page-turners. No, they aren't exactly high literature. But that isn't what you should be expecting when you pick up this type of book. You should be expcting an engaging story with some interesting historical context. If that is what you're looking for, Steve Berry always delivers.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2013

    Recommend

    It was an interesting book and fun to read. It wasn't as exciting as some of his other books, but it was still good and a fast read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    Recommended- Very engrossing read

    Very topical, in light of the Pope's recent resignation; a fascinating imagining of the machinations surrounding Vatican politics, combined with intrigue involvimg a fictional unknown secret of Fatima. Fans of Dan Brown should enjoy this. I didn't realize at first this was one of Steve Berry's earlier books, but found it to be one of his better ones. I much preferred it to his more recent "The Columbus Affair", which I found a bit tedious. "The Third Secret" kept me engrossed to the very end.

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  • Posted July 3, 2011

    Fun historical fiction

    You have to take it for what it is, fiction that focuses on history and religion. He has great story telling ability.

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  • Posted February 18, 2011

    Definitely Recommend

    Love how the author makes you think about things in a different light.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2006

    Get it!!

    This was a great novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed. The characters were interesting and I really connected with Michener on a lot of things. This is a work of fiction much like the Da Vinci Code, but it certainly piqued my inquisitive nature, especially when dealing with the Church. I could have done without all the Vatican politics, but none-the-less it was informative. I was finished with this book before I even realized it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2006

    A good read

    I picked up this book at a local library and found the book enjoyable to read. Interesting history about the visions of The Virgin Mary and her prophesy. A nice change of pace when you get to see one of the Cardinals is a villian. Maybe there are a lot of secrets we all don't know about that goes on in the Vatican.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2006

    Clever premise but too liberal of an ending

    For starters, I am a practicing Catholic. That being said, I truly enjoyed reading this thrilling mystery. The characters were interesting and the book was very easy to read. My only complaint was the ending of the book. Although, a suprise ending was expected that would disspell one of the Catholic beliefs, the author made a mistake by trying to contradict multiple Catholic stances. In the end, the book was still thought provoking but lost some of its credence with its ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2005

    A Smarter, Better Da Vinci Code

    Having read Da Vinci Code and understanding the appeal, I do have to say that this book, centered around the Fatima secrets is a far superior book. With the recent passing of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI it provided and interesting look into church politics, a great summer read.

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