In 1244, at the infamous fortress of Montségur in southwestern France, Christian Inquisitors massacred the last vestige of a heresy known as Mithraism, once the dominant religion of the Roman Empire. But was the heresy in fact destroyed? In today’s New York City, reporter Tess Drake discovers a mysterious altar in the apartment of a friend whose charred body was discovered in a nearby park. The altar (a version of it exists in the British Museum) depicts a man astride a bull, plunging a knife into its neck while a dog, a scorpion, and a snake drink the blood. The meaning of that altar propels Tess on a furious hunt for the truth about what happened to her friend, a labyrinth of intrigue and danger that leads to the highest levels of power as well as to the depths of a secret cave in Spain.
“A mega-thriller by any standard.”
“Action, intrigue, not one dull page.”
—New York Daily News
“Morrell writes great action sequences and moves things at breakneck speed.”
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Morrell has topped all his previous sizzlers…A wild explosive ending.”
I got all kinds of hate mail about this book. Its premise is that a mysterious group is punishing the grossest abusers of the planet. The main character is a reporter named Tess Drake, who stumbles upon a real-life religious sect dating back to the ancient Romans. At the time, it was controversial that Rambo’s creator had chosen a female main character. But that wasn’t why I got the weird mail. Basically, I was called all sorts of names because I was dumb enough to believe that the world’s environment was in danger from massive pollution. There isn’t any global ecological crisis, I was assured (warned) in strong terms, and anybody who did believe that was a (blank, blank) Communist. The ancient Roman sect (devoted to a fertility god known as Mithras) is actual, although it is supposed to have died out during the Spanish Inquisition. The e-book edition contains photographs of the burned-out fortress at Montségur and of the enigmatic Mithraic altar at the British Museum (a man on a bull plunging a sword into its neck while a scorpion, a snake, and a dog drink the blood).