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Spotlight: The Virgin of the Wind Rose by Glen Craney

The Virgin of the Wind Rose: A Christopher Columbus Mystery-Thriller

About the Book

Rookie State Department lawyer Jaqueline Quartermane was never much good at puzzles. But now she must unlock an ancient magical palindrome to expose a global conspiracy spanning five centuries.

While investigating the murder of an American missionary in Ethiopia, Jaqueline discovers the mysterious Latin word square carved into an underground church near the tomb of the biblical Adam. Obsessed with solving its coded message, she is drawn into a desperate race with an elusive Middle Eastern mastermind to find the last relic needed to resurrect Solomon's Temple. A trail of cabalistic clues leads her to the catacombs of Rome, the crypt below Chartres Cathedral, a Masonic shaft in Nova Scotia, a Portuguese shipwreck off Sumatra, and the caverns under the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Intertwined in a time shift with this modern relic hunt, a parallel duel is waged:

The year is 1452, and one of the most secretive societies in history, Portugal's Order of Christ, is led by a reclusive visionary. Prince Henry the Navigator and his medieval version of NASA plot to foil their archenemies, the Inquisitor Torquemada and Queen Isabella of Castile, who scheme to bring back Christ for the Last Judgment by ridding the world of Jews, heretics, and unbelievers.

Separated by half a millennium, two conspiracies dovetail in this fast-paced historical thriller to expose the world's most explosive secret: The real identity of Christopher Columbus and the explorer's connection to those now trying to spark the End of Days.

Editorial praise

"An exciting journey across time, withmore twists and turns than a strawberry Twizzler. Craney has produced a page-turning adventure, with crisp, clean and measured prose... The research behind the stories is massive, lending credence to the cast of characters and authenticity to the historic periods. This is a highly recommended historical thriller in the manner of Dan Brown." -- Quarterdeck magazine (Full print review:

"A page turner...and a very well written narrative which I thoroughly enjoyed. Highly recommended." -- David Hayes, Editor, Historic Naval Fiction (

"[T]his book was compared favorably by other readers to the writings of Dan Brown... I jumped at the chance to see what the hype was about. I'm very glad I did... I stayed up all night to finish this great read and was left wanting more... Many times I will figure stories out early on, but this book keeps you guessing. Mr. Craney is a master of holding back and building the suspense. Though this is a fast-paced romp through history and time, you are still holding your breath... I'm hoping for a sequel." -- One Book Shy of a Full Shelf Review Blog (

"If you liked Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, or Dan Brown's, Da Vinci Code, you will find this story interesting, too...This book is wonderful in that when you are finished, you are still asking yourself all kinds of questions. It is a great story and one I enjoyed thoroughly." -- Olivia Morris, Review This! (

"This could also make another great adventure movie (Indiana Jones; The Da Vinci Code), or mini TV series.... I can’t even begin to give this book enough credit. Defiantly in my top 10 for 2015. -- Goodreads Reviewer

"Read this book if you are prepared to take a wild ride from the modern idea of the upcoming rapture to the the historical theories of the Ark of the Covenant and the Age of Exploration. ... Again, a wonderful novel." — Goodreads reviewer

"An adventure/thriller. No, an historical adventure. No again, perhaps a double adventure with each story explaining the other. Even that doesn’t quite capture this book. ... A good romp through history and the bringing together of various discoveries that can be explained in several ways or perhaps unexplainable." — Amazon reviewer


Sopped in sweat, the ten-year-old Ethiopian boy prayed to St. Georgis the Dragonslayer for protection as he wormed his way toward the tomb of the first man on Earth.

The tunnel’s gritty sandstone, stained red from the blood of Satan’s serpents, punished his hands and knees. To preserve the precious air, he slowed his breaths as he crawled. The settling night had cooled the mountain village above him, but here, sixty meters below the surface, the trapped midday heat could roast a chicken. Faint from hunger, he stopped and pulled a crust of bread from his pocket. He chewed the morsel slowly, taking care to muzzle its aroma with his tunic’s sleeve to avoid being swarmed by the bees that hived in the crevices.

His dizziness eased, and he resumed his quest, groping blindly on all fours along the narrowing walls. At last, he came to the Armory of the Shining Ones, the long notch in the floor where the angels had once stored their lances.

“Mäqäraräb,” he whispered. Not far now.

He knew every bend and cranny in this secret passage by memory, having accompanied the priests on their daily inspections of the subterranean churches. That was the only godsend from his miserable duties. His father, the High Priest of Lalibela, had marked him at birth for religious service by tattooing a blue cross on his right temple. As a result, he was forbidden to play football or chase tourists for candy, and he would have to slave six more years carrying sandals just to become a deacon. Everyone said he should be grateful for the honor,
but he had no desire to waste away his life mumbling incantations. Tomorrow he planned to stow away in the cargo bin of the bus to Addis Ababa, where he would find prosperous construction work and a beautiful girlfriend.

Before leaving home, however, he craved an even more exciting escape, one that promised a glimpse of Paradise. In a few hours, at dawn, his fellow villagers would celebrate Timkat, the holiest of their many religious festivals. The elders of the monastery had retired early to their cloisters to fast and prepare themselves with chants. This night, the tenth of Terr, was the only time of the year that Bet Golgota––the underground church of the Crucifixion––was left unguarded. It would also be his last chance to pierce the veil that shrouded Heaven’s wisdom and delights.

He came hovering over the yawning trench that protected the entrance to the nave, and ran a finger across an inscription on a stone carved in Ge’ez:

The opening verse of Genesis.

He kissed the ground that covered the bones of the biblical Adam. Then, he reached up and inserted the stolen key into the lock just beyond the grave. After several turns of the rusty tumbler, the pitted door squealed open.

About the Book

Glen Craney is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, journalist, and lawyer. The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences has honored him with the Nicholl Fellowship prize for best new screenwriting. He is also a two-time indieBRAG Medallion Honoree and has three times been named a Foreword Reviews Book-of-the-Year Award Finalist. His debut novel, The Fire and the Light, was recognized as Best New Fiction by the National Indie Excellence Awards and as an Honorable Mention winner for Foreword's BOTYA in historical fiction. His novels have taken readers to Occitania during the Albigensian Crusade, to the Scotland of Robert Bruce, to Portugal during the Age of Discovery, to the trenches of France during World War I, and to the American Hoovervilles of the Great Depression. He lives in southern California.

Connect with Glen: Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter: @glencraney

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