This is Kathleen McGowan's first novel. She has been editor-in-chief of THE IRISH NEWS, having worked in Ireland in her twenties as a reporter and has written extensively on subjects that include politics, history and the arts. She spent five years working as a marketing executive at the Walt Disney Company She lives in Los Angeles with her Irish-born musician husband, Peter McGowan.
Thanks to the movie adaptation of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, Mary Magdalene and her relationship to Jesus is a hot topic in the fast-growing biblical/ancient mystery/thriller genre. In what is sure to be a big summer hit, journalist McGowan's page-turning debut introduces readers to Maureen Pascal, a journalist unprepared for the visions that haunt her as she researches her new book on misunderstood heroines of the past. In France, Maureen uncovers a family secret and a document that many have died to protect (both linked to Mary Magdalene) and becomes entwined with two secret societies whose rivalry has extended over centuries. McGowan's ability to create dimensional characters while sustaining multiple, fast-paced story lines is sure to win her many readers. This work, based on 20 years of research, may prove to be more controversial than Brown's book, as it addresses not only the possibility that Jesus and Mary Magdalene produced offspring but also that other biblical relationships may have differed from what the Catholic Church had ordained to be true. Public libraries should purchase multiple copies to meet demand. Highly recommended. [This was the first big (as in seven-figure) deal for former Warner Books chairman-turned-literary agent Larry Kirshbaum, and rights have been sold in 22 countries; coming in October from Pearlsong Press is another Mary Magdalene novel, Mary Saracino's The Singing of Swans.-Ed.]-Nanci Milone Hill, Nevins Memorial Lib., Methuen, MA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The standard religious-thriller architecture is evident in McGowan's much-heralded debut, which coincidentally shares similarities with The Da Vinci Code (e.g., murders, Vatican interference, nefarious secret societies), but mostly the characters sit and talk about biblical history and the search for Magdalene-connected treasure. Biblical dreams and visions plague American Maureen Paschal, author of the bestselling HERstory-a Defense of History's Most Hated Heroines. When she travels to France's mysterious Languedoc region at the urging of Magdalene scholar Lord Berenger Sinclair, Maureen finds what has eluded centuries of treasure hunters-the original Magdalene scrolls that detail her love affair with Jesus, their marriage and the crucifixion. Though the author makes no effort to render these gospel excerpts in period prose, they're the most compelling part of a novel otherwise freighted with romance-fiction stylings and unadorned facts numbingly narrated. Originally self-published, this first of a trilogy has already sold foreign rights in 22 countries. 350,000 printing; 15-city author tour. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.