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The Mystery of Julia Episcopa by John Rigoli

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Posts: 1462
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans

The Mystery of Julia Episcopa by John Rigoli

Post by Rowan » Tue March 6th, 2018, 2:48 pm

This is my Goodreads review of this book.

I purchased this book because it was tagged to be similar to The DaVinci Code. Unfortunately it wasn't anything like Dan Brown's book. The premise is a good one, despite it no longer being an issue in the Church today, but I feel it could've done so much better in the hands of a more experienced author.

There is a lot of back and forth between first century Rome and modern day. While this doesn't bother me often, I felt that too much time was spent on Julia's life, on getting to the point where she became a first century female bishop. Her earlier life could've been pared way down and a focus made on when she actually became a bishop and all that her life entailed then. Throughout the book I was left wondering where certain threads of the story were going only for them to be resolved seemingly as an after thought. It feels like a lot of the historical information was weakly researched. For instance, the poisoned used in the plot is one that sounded familiar so I looked it up and learned that consuming it once (which is what we're led to believe happens in the story) would only make someone horribly sick. One would have to consume large quantities of it to die and any reasonable person who seemingly tasted something off in her wine would probably have someone taste it first after the initial suspect consumption. There was clearly little to no editing on the part of either the writer(s) or any kind of editor.

My copy of the book indicates that it is written by both John Rigoli and Diane Cummings, though the listing on Goodreads indicates it was written by John Rigoli. According to Amazon, the book was published just this year, however I was unable to find the name of the publisher. What I did find, interestingly enough, was that this book was previously published in 2012 under the title Julia Episcopa: A Woman's Struggle in the Church written by John Rigoli. I have read only one other book written by two people and I feel it worked well because I feel the writers knew each other well and their styles were similar. In this case, though, it feels like these two authors either don't know each other or have only just met and decided to rework the story. To what end? I cannot imagine.

2/5 stars

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