Paleography is the discipline that studies (1) the history of writing (and precisely, handwriting, graffiti, murals) in their different phases; (2) the techniques used in writing in different periods; (3) the process of reproduction of written witnesses as they developed in different periods, and (4) the result of this process, as in books or inscriptions from documents or from individual and private writing (accounts, notes, letters, etc.) in their graphic form".
I finished this novel today and all I can say is WOW!! This novel is much better than The Da Vinci Code. Its got history, mystery, physical trials, tests of faith, a strong female lead who happens to be a nun, and of course a romance. But the romance is a very small part of the story.
As the head of the Vatican’s secret Classified Archives it is Dr. Ottavia Salinas's job to research and maintain some of the world’s most ancient and protected documents while also controlling her staff with an unyielding, unforgiving iron fist. As a nun, working in the Vatican is a prestigious and enviable job.
An Ethiopian man with strange markings on his body is killed in a plane crash. Amongst his belongings is a reliquary box with a small piece of the True Cross in it. The reliquary is taken to the Vatican, along with photos of the markings on the man's body. Sister Ottavia is asked to decipher the markings.
Once Ottavia discovers that the letters tattooed on the body spell the Greek word STAUROS or Cross, and that the strange marks on the body refer to the Seven Deadly Sins, the trail leads directly to Purgatory and Hell via Dante and his Divine Comedy.
Ottavia and her team must travel through Purgatory using the clues from Dante's Divine Comedy, and submitting themselves to 7 trials, in order to discover who is stealing the relics of the True Cross from the Catholic church.
Along the way. Ottavia discovers new things about her beliefs, herself and her family. She also finds herself more and more drawn to Farag, the Egyptian academic with whom she is falling in love. But as I said earlier, the romance is just a small part of the story.
The Last Cato Review
The Last Cato Review