The Return by Carter Vance (Self-Published, 2010, 293pp.)
While vacationing at his friend’s chateau in France, Geoff, an American banker, discovers an ancient library belonging to the Knights Templar, an organization that is supposed to have disbanded years ago. Out of curiosity, he decides to learn more about the Templars, and learns that their society is actually still active. Meanwhile, Maria Davidson-Morales makes a deathbed confession to her only child, Sarah: the Davidson-Morales family is descended from Jesus Christ Himself. The family has produced only girls for generations, but legend has it that one day, the line will finally yield a male child that will signal His second return.
The Return traces much of the legend that was covered in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, a controversial bestseller that employed the premise that Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute, but the wife of Jesus Christ and mother of his child. It further explores the idea by introducing other historical elements, such as the Ark of the Covenant.
Unfortunately, The Return just doesn’t work as a novel. The plot is rushed from beginning to end, compressing 500 or 600 pages worth of material into just under 300: holy artifacts are tracked down and Satan’s legions line up to prevent the second birth of Christ. Characters are stunted by time constraints and never really manage to come to life. The reader is allowed to catch brief glimpses of interesting things, but the story never slows down to focus on any of it. So while it has an interesting storyline, The Return still needs a lot of work.
- The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown