The Sacred Blood

The Sacred Blood

by Michael Byrnes

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The riveting sequel to the international bestseller The Sacred Bones, Michael Byrnes’s The Sacred Blood is a provocative, heart-racing thriller in the Dan Brown mode while adding a bold new twist to the genre. A heart-stopping story that blends archeology, history, science, and religion, The Sacred Blood concerns a race to possess the world’s most powerful relic as the clock ticks down to Armageddon. Action-packed and full of surprises, here is high-octane entertainment for lovers of The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol, and the New York Times bestselling Sigma Force novels of James Rollins.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061783128
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/24/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 721,160
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.86(h) x 0.99(d)

About the Author

Michael Byrnes attended Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey, and earned his graduate degree in business administration at Rutgers. Byrnes lives in Florida with his wife, Caroline, and daughters, Vivian and Camille.

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The Sacred Blood

Chapter One

Rome, Italy

Present Day

A flock of pigeons took flight as Father James Martin moved swiftly around Caligula's obelisk, which rose up from the center of Piazza San Pietro like a colossal dagger against the steel-gray sky. Its mid-September shadow would normally have let him know that it was just past five o'clock. But for the third consecutive day, the sun remained hidden behind a shroud of lifeless clouds. Glancing over at St. Peter's Basilica, he saw the faithful pilgrims queued for the last tour. Even a typhoon couldn't scare them away, he thought.

He pulled his raincoat tighter to fight off a damp chill. He'd need to move quickly to beat the imminent downpour.

Near the end of Via della Conciliazione, he heard a voice calling to him over the sounds of the traffic.

"Padre Martin?"

Stopping, Martin turned. A man waved to him, splashing through the shallow puddles in quick strides. Of medium height and build, he was ordinary looking—clean-shaven with dark hair and unreadable dark eyes. "Si?" Martin replied.

"Sorry to bother you on your way home," he said, planting himself at arm's length.

A laminated Vatican ID badge was prominently displayed on the lapel of his raincoat, just below his white priest collar. The unfamiliar face was forgettable. Italian? Lebanese? Maybe thirtysomething, or perhaps a youthful fifty, Martin guessed. "Have we met?"

The man shook his head. "Not yet."

"What can I do for you, Father... ?"

"Fabrizio Orlando." He extended his right hand.

Italian. When Martin reciprocated, henoticed that the priest's skin was rough. Unusual for a cleric. Perhaps the man had spent time as a missionary? The Lord's call doesn't place everyone behind a desk, Martin reminded himself.

"I've just been appointed to the secretariat's office."

Why hadn't he been notified? "I see. Welcome to Vatican City."

"Grazie. Mind if I walk with you for a minute?"

Suspicion showed in Martin's eyes. "Not at all."

The two men proceeded down the sidewalk past the cafés and souvenir shops.

"I was told you'd been Cardinal Antonio Santelli's secretary?"

"That's right." Martin's gait quickened and the man kept pace beside him.

"Very unfortunate, His Eminence's death. A deep loss for the Holy See." He tightened his lips in a show of solemnity. "He was a visionary." As they approached Piazza Pia's busy thoroughfare, his pitch rose to compete with the bus and scooter traffic. "Many had said he would be the Holy Father's successor."

"Yes, well..." Attempting to echo the priest's fond words, Martin stalled, knowing that his own remembrances wouldn't be nearly as complimentary. The fact remained that regardless of Santelli's unsullied public image as having been a last great defender of Catholic dogma, the late cardinal had been merciless to his subordinates—a bulldog. Martin chose to bow his head in prayer.

"May God rest his soul," Orlando said loudly as a whining Vespa sped past.

At the busy intersection, they remained silent to negotiate the crosswalk.

Martin resumed the conversation as he led the way down the cobbled walkway in front of Castel Sant'Angelo's outer rampart. "So how can I assist you, Father?"

The priest's chin tipped up. "Yes, about business then." A momentary stare down at the roiling Tiber helped him collect his thoughts. "The secretariat has retained my ser­vices to assist in ongoing inquiries concerning the death of Dr. Giovanni Bersei."

Martin stiffened. "I see."

They angled onto Ponte Sant'Angelo.

The man went on to convey what his fact-finding mission had yielded thus far. Back in June, Italian anthropologist Giovanni Bersei had been commissioned by Cardinal Santelli to assist in a highly secretive project inside the Vatican. Only days later, Bersei had been found dead in the catacombs beneath Villa Torlonia. An elderly docent was also found dead on the premises and a routine autopsy showed he had been injected with heart-arresting toxins. Roman authorities had investigated the foul play. Santelli, too, Orlando conspiratorially reminded him, had succumbed to heart failure only a day later, though the Holy See had refused an autopsy.

By the time the Italian had finished, he'd trailed Martin to within a block of his apartment building.

There was no doubt Orlando was well informed. But Martin wasn't looking to rehash the exhaustive questioning he'd endured in the weeks that followed the cardinal's death. "I trust you have been informed that the carabinieri have completed their investigations?"

The man's lips pulled tight. "Mine is an internal investigation," he repeated.

Approaching the narrow alley that was the shortcut to his apartment building, Martin stopped. "I don't mean to be rude, but I think it would be best for us to speak about this during business hours. After I've obtained permission from the secretariat's office."

Orlando forced a placated smile. "I understand."

"A pleasure to meet you, Father Orlando." Martin nodded.


Martin stuffed his hands into his pockets and turned down the alley. As he was about to pass a stocky deliveryman unloading produce boxes from an idling van, he heard the priest calling after him again, quick footsteps tapping along the ancient cobblestones.


Stopping in his tracks, Martin's shoulders slumped. Before he could turn to address Orlando, the anxious priest had circled in front of him.

"If I could just have another moment."

"What is it?"

Later, Martin would recall no answer. Just the priest's eyes turning cold, slipping back to the sidewalk, then up to the windows overlooking the alleyway, and finally over Martin's shoulder to the deliveryman.

Without warning, two strong hands grabbed at Martin's coat, yanking hard, forcing his body into an uncontrolled spin, directly toward the van's open cargo hold.

What in God's name?!

A sharp blow to the knees forced him down onto the cold metal floor. "Aiuto!" he screamed out to anyone who might hear. "Aiu—"

The Sacred Blood. Copyright © by Michael Byrnes. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Sacred Blood 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A book that definitely kept my attention and I was in a hurry to get it completed as I had trouble putting it down at times. Would definitely recommend that you check it out. I felt like it was even better than the first part "The Sacred Bones". Definitely interested in more books by this author.
Swiderek More than 1 year ago
This, I believe, is the second book in a trilogy. The first was "The Sacred Bones", and this new historical novel continues with the same charactets and theme of Book One. The story is a little easier to follow now that we know who the characters are from Book One. This is a compelling read and one can see that what is written in "both" books can truly considered to be plausible. Maybe something will be discovered one day showing these imaginary scenarios weren't really "imaginary" at all? This author has not gotten the recognition he deserves for getting one to look at things from a different perspective ... what might be, what could, indeed, be. I found this a wonderful read. And I can't wait for his next novel.
siberialt More than 1 year ago
Excellent read. detailed and brings you into the book. Good to read by itself or as a sequeal.
MaddieBloom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
These books are great fun, preposterous, but great fun.
cwaldrum on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So my second favourite genre to read would be religious conspiracies/thriller books and The Sacred Blood is just that. I've read several types like Dan Brown and Michael Byrnes and each time that I do I get pulled right in, until just about the end. Each novel is about 'exposing' the religious truths that the church (or in this case synagogue) are hiding from the world. The ideas behind the stories are interesting and believable, almost. Where the author will lose me is with too much mystical mumbo jumbo. I have a low tolerance for the supernatural or a sparkly magic box, this to me is not believable. Yes, I am a heathen and I'm sure some might call blaspheme, but I accept that. Byrnes had me until the box was a sparkly lightening bolt.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definitely a page-turner! Checked out Sacred Bones from local library, and could not pass up reading Sacred Blood on Nook!
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Lessa_09 More than 1 year ago
The book was okay. I like the concept of the story. Took awhile to get the plot going and the ending was quick coming, like the author felt it needed to be ended and quickly.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In a recently discovered crypt underneath the Temple¿s Mount in Jerusalem, THE SACRED BONES OF JESUS Christ was found. Geneticist Charlotte Hennessy extracts some DNA from the remains and uses it on herself to cure herself from cancer evn as the Vatican wants the remains to ¿bury¿ them.

However, someone wants Hennessy dead and sends killers to perform the deed. They find her in Phoenix, Arizona, but though she survives the assault, they kill her lover and boss Evan Aldrich. They still go after Hennessy and her friend Father Patrick Donovan, as several diverse groups, especially those seeking to start Armageddon, want to possess the remains of Jesus. The prime faction is led by Rabbi Aaron Cohen who also sends henchmen at Israeli archeologist Amit Mizrachi and his Egyptologist lover Julie LeRoux who are investigiating the remains of Jesus.

This over the top thriller is a fast-paced sequel that hooks the audience early on and maintains the readers attention through the frantic pacing. Amit and Julie are a fun pair to follow as squabbling lovers who spend much of their digging time dodging bullets while trying to prevent Armageddon. Fans will enjoy this exciting tale as theology, science, and history converge with the cat and mouse encounters over THE SACRED BLOOD.

Harriet Klausner
dustoffrvn More than 1 year ago
very good reading!