Dominus by Tom Fox

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Magic/Paranormal/ Mystery/Crime/ Netgalley/ Reviews/ Speculative Fiction 17th March 2016
Dominus by Tom FoxDominus (Dominus #1) by Tom Fox
Published by Headline on October 8th 2015
Pages: 416
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three-stars

The Vatican Cathedral is packed to the rafters as Pope Gregory XVII leads the congregation in mass. A cloaked stranger steps suddenly and fearlessly towards the altar and commands the wheelchair-bound Pope to stand.
He does.
The miracle stops the world in its tracks. Who is this stranger?
More miraculous events follow and as the Vatican retreats and closes its doors to the world, journalist Alexander Trecchio and police officer Gabriella Fierro set out to find an explanation that might calm an increasingly hysterical nation.
Because the question on everyone's lips is what the stranger's arrival might mean...and whether it finally heralds the End of Days.
DOMINUS is a relentless conspiracy thriller that will leave you every bit as breathless as Dan Brown's Robert Langdon novels and Simon Toyne's SANCTUS

‘Dominus’ very bravely follows in the template of the sort of mystery-spiritual thrillers (unfortunately) made the default by Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon novels over the past decade or so: a mysterious character apparently capable of miraculous deeds, jaded protagonists who rush to unscramble the confusing events that follow, all within a historically and religiously significant setting. Events unfold and are recorded ‘real-time’, almost like a news broadcast that cuts between locations, leaving the reader to piece together a growing mystery that will take more than one brilliant mind (like Robert Langdon), less hyperbolic leaps of logic and art-historical mangling to solve.

The first few pages are sufficiently intriguing to make you feel like you’ve just indulged in a guilty pleasure; a crippled Pop stands to his feet just as a body washes up the Tiber river. A faith-lapsed journalist and a pious Catholic police officer – both low on the totem pole of ranks – are called to investigate the rumours that are spreading like wildfire, until they find themselves running for their lives when they touch the evil that seeps in from the ancient cracks of stones that form the foundation of Rome and the Vatican. The action is unrelenting and there is a hardly pause for breath as we, like Alexander and Gabriella, are plunged straight into the shady business of the curia and the entanglements that actually account for good plot twists and startling revelations.

If ‘Dominus’ has been touted as a high-octane thriller, it certainly delivers as an entertaining and engaging read, even if some instances call for deliberate self-reminders to suspend all disbelief. Yet it’s more than a decent debut, and imaginative enough for me to keep an eye on Tom Fox.

three-stars

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