The Inquisitor's Key is a Body Farm novel, meaning it's part of a series about the Body Farm, the human-decomposition research facility at the University of Tennessee. However, after the initial scene, which really had nothing at all to do with this book, we don't return to the Body Farm.
Dr. Bill Brockton, a renowned forensic anthropologist, is summoned to Avignon, France, by his protégé, Miranda, who is supposedly having an emergency appendectomy. It turns out this is false, and Miranda and her associate have found a stone box with very old bones. The box is labeled that it contains Jesus of Nazareth.
Brockton begins the detailed process of determining just how old the bones are and whether they are indeed the bones of Christ. This includes investigating the Shroud of Turin and its origins. The book flashes back to the 1300s, which was a period of time when the Popes lived in Avignon, not Rome. So as we are following Brockton's investigation, we are getting the real story of how these bones came to be where they are. It's a fascinating look at the corruption and greed of the Catholic church.
It's all very interesting, but I found it a bit detailed. The book really drags in the middle, during the investigation. There's danger, there's murder and kidnapping, and lots of mystery. But it just wasn't enough action to balance the historical details. The ending left my heart pounding, as I did really care about Miranda and Dr. Bill, and it was quite exciting.
I'm still recommending The Inquisitor's Key to historical fiction/mystery fans (which I am) so, I honestly loved this book. I just wanted to warn those that are in it for the mystery more than the history, that The Inquisitor's Key might be more history than you want.
"Jefferson Bass" is really two people, Dr. Bill Bass who founded the the Body Farm, and Jon Jefferson. They include notes at the end explaining which parts of the novel are based in truth.
Published by William Morrow, May 8, 2012
eBook obtained from Edelweiss
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