It’s the fall of 2010 at Jesuit-run Boston College, where senior Jack Knecht has just seen a ghostly figure in long antique robes slipping into Gasson Hall, the Gothic bell tower looming over the stately campus. Students and faculty alike, comfortably at home on The Heights, know the building is locked for major renovations this semester. Why would a spirit in 18th-century dress be haunting contemporary college life? Jack wonders.
Thus begins this driving mystery-adventure in which Jack and his girlfriend, Fran Romero, run from menacing ghosts, are attacked out of the blue by a fiery dragon overhead and a raging bull underground, and have to face suspicious Jesuits threatening expulsion, all while keeping up with classes in this most sociable of schools. These are reasons enough to quickly decipher a tantalizing ancient map that convincingly points to the BC campus as the secret site of the Holy Grail, lost for centuries now.
Proceeding by their wits with crucial help from eccentric art history professor Melinda Galen, the fey ghost of the last Templar grand master Jacques de Molay, and an imaginative, close-knit circle of college friends, Fran and Jack embark on a journey of discovery. The trail, however, is a twisted one, winding from the religious cult of Mithraism rooted in the ancient Syrian city of Dura-Europos through the medieval Templars down to modern-day Jesuits bearing a colorful history from Old World to New. Amid campus Quidditch games and undergraduate parties, dance rehearsals, middle-of-the-night discussions about hooking up, and communal meals, the young students pool their various esoteric disciplines to pursue the mystery of the Grail’s location.
In the course of investigating the recondite riddles of the Mithraic cult, Fran and Jack come to pursue a Grail for a new millennium and thereby seek to become initiates into the mysteries of love. But in our age of crisis, with the planet suffering while economies spin out of control, can Fran and Jack find a way through the phantasmagoric maze confronting them, to find at last the Grail and arrive at a newly awakened consciousness?
Grail Mysterium is a novel about love and its possibilities, about dating and relationships among the younger Linked Generation, and about the fundamental shift in human interconnectedness now underway in the 21st century.
This "Harry Potter for adults" is the first in the Adventure on The Heights series by Thomas Kaplan-Maxfield.
About the Author
The late modernist novelist Lawrence Durrell referred to his friend’s Kaplan-Maxfield’s work as “direct messages from the script.”
Kaplan-Maxfield is also a green residential builder in Greater Boston.
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Article first published as Book Review: Grail Mysterium: An Adventure on the Heights by Thomas Kaplan-Maxfield on Blogcritics. Magic and Science, can these two subjects actually be related and interchangeable, or is there any relationship at all between them. In Grail Mysterium, An Adventure on the Heights by Thomas Kaplan-Mansfield, he brings us a book touted to be somewhere between Harry Potter and the Da Vinci Code. I enjoyed both of these works to a degree and was interested to see how this work would represent the connection. This is a true marriage of the two distinct worlds of Harry Potter and The Davinci code. Where the one is all about magic and the other is about the religious aspects and science, Maxfield has given us a mix that is thoroughly satisfying. The characters in the forms of seniors at the college are written with an eye to excellence in knowledge, and without their individual components there would be a difficulty in the belief of the facts as written. Each character carries a piece of the puzzle with Jack and Fran as the center piece. Throw in evil ghosts, modern day Templars, professors that may be just a bit untrustworthy, and mix that with the whimsy of a dragon and a giant bull, any you have the makings of a magical, mystical suspense that at times keeps you on the edge of your seat. What I found missing in the Potter series and The Davinci Code, has been superseded and twisted into a triumph in Grail Mysterium. The characters are well written and you care about them. You worry when they