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    Review of THE VATICAN KNIGHTS by Richard L. Jones

    IUniverse, June 2006

    When the Pope is kidnapped on a U.S. visit, FBI negotiator Shari Cohen is put in charge of the investigation. It seems obvious that Arab terrorists are involved--two of their bodies are found on the site of the kidnapping--but where could they have taken the Pope and what are their intentions. With precious little to go on, Shari is under pressure from the President himself and the whole world teeters toward a destructive war between religions.

    The Vatican does not take the kidnapping of its Pope sitting down. It sends its elite squad, The Vatican Knights, into action. The Knights are the best of the best, assassins, soldiers, code-breakers, men who live by the motto of "Loyalty above all else, except Honor." Somehow, the Knights, led by former US assassin Kimball Hayden, must persuade Shari to trust them, to share her information with them, to allow them to take the lead in the rescue of the Pope.

    Although the kidnappers have hidden their identities well, they are not actually Arab terrorists. Instead, they are using the pretense of being Arab terrorists to push the world into a war that would destroy the Arabic people. The tentacles of this conspiracy reach high into the US Government--and into the governments and oil ministries of powerful nations around the world. When Shari determines that there is information on an Israeli CD-ROM that might be related to the plot, she becomes a danger to the conspiracy--and is targetted for death. Meanwhile, with every ticking hour, the Pope's own death becomes more inevitable.

    Author Richard L. Jones writes a fast-paced thriller. With elite teams of assassins, crack FBI agents, foreign conspiracies, plots within the US government, the Pope himself, and a looming war that threatens to send much of the world into flames, Jones puts together all of the ingredients needed to deliver a compelling story.

    I found myself torn from the story, however, by errors and clunky writing which should have been corrected in editing stages. When speaking to the Arab terrorists, and when pretending to be terrorists taping their demands, the kidnappers speak Farsi--Persian. Arabic, the language spoken by Arabs, is completely different from Farsi--and it is unlikely that the Arab terrorist would have understood them. It is even more unlikely that FBI agents wouldn't have guessed that something was wrong.

    THE VATICAN KNIGHTS is a mostly-enjoyable thriller and author Jones has a lot of potential. With more careful editing, he should be able to step up toward best-selling status.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 8/28/06

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