Friday, 3 July 2009


It's always nice to get good reviews. Here is one from Nik Morton, a prolific writer, editor and illustrator. You can learn more about Nik at

Nik's review:

Michael Parker

Spanning the period 1941 to 1970, this sixth book by Parker is a relentless page-turning adventure that should appeal to fans of Frederick Forsyth.

It opens in the Vatican in 1941 and a Cardinal is substituting an important document in the Secret Archives. He is fearful for the original’s safety, as it, together with Vatican gold, was being shipped abroad before either the Nazis or the Russians might plunder Rome. While passing through Chad, the secret Italian convoy transporting the Vatican gold is attacked by British troops led by Captain Miles Roselli. The transport truck is hidden away…

Some 22 years later, one of the Vatican gold ingots is located and the hunt is on to find the hiding place. In truth, the document is more valuable than the gold, as if it is revealed to the world as a fake it could discredit the Roman Catholic Church. Those involved in the search are Roselli, the Vatican’s special agent Cellini, the Mafia family Galliano, a French Foreign Legion commandant and Roselli’s children Angelina and Bruno.

Until her stepbrother arrived on the scene, Angelina’s life had been pretty ordinary. Once she decided to take the chance ‘to change from a kind of quiescence that characterized her life into something that promised the unknown’, she found herself fighting for dear life in dark wet caves and dodging bullets.

Parker has peppered the story with telling description, notably of the inhospitable mountains, and nuggets of information whether about bullion dealing or the Vatican Institute for Religious Works. Also, there are plenty of great phrases, for example: ‘… once he stopped trying, he would start dying.’ Another: ‘… began to think of other things rather than the footprints of a memory that he didn’t know he possessed.’

If you like your adventure tales with pace, intriguing characters, believable heroes and exotic locations, then this is definitely for you.

Nik Morton

Here is another review by Thomas Duffbert, a top reviewer with

I received a pretty good recreational read the other day in the mail... The Third Secret by Michael Parker. It had a bit of everything... intrigue, conspiracy, buried treasure, and a number of people all after a single item, but most all for different reasons.

There are two driving forces in the story. One is the third secret of Fatima from the Catholic Church. During World War II, it was thought that perhaps the German soldiers might overrun the Vatican and loot a number of treasures. A priest, acting on his own, decided to take the unrevealed third secret document, substitute a fake document, and send the real document out of country for safekeeping. The other force is a shipment of Vatican gold being sent out for the same reason. It just so happens that the document is also with the gold. While the Italians are transporting the gold shipment, it's attacked by an Allied patrol in the middle of the desert. They decide to hide the shipment in an unmarked cave until they can figure out how to divvy up the spoils. Of course, human greed takes over, a gun fight ensues, and only one(?) person is left alive that knows about the hiding spot. The rest of the story revolves around his plans to head back, recover the gold for himself, and potentially figure out exactly what that strange piece of paper was that was also with the gold. The main problem is that he's not the only one who gets wind of the recovery, and there are some very powerful people who are willing to do just about anything to make sure they are the winners in the search.

I've grown a bit tired of the Catholic conspiracy genre, as it's been done over and over. But in this case, the story line didn't seem to go overboard on the topic. There were enough competing interests so that the story stayed fresh. And even when I thought most everything was settled and I knew who was on what side, I found out I didn't. The Third Secret was an entertaining novel, and one that I'm glad I had the chance to read.
Thomas Duff (aka "Duffbert")
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