Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Sixth Station by Linda Stasi

The Sixth Station.  Linda Stasi. Forge Books.  January 2013. 368 pp. hbk. ISBN #: 9780765334275.

Alessandra Russo is a smart, sassy journalist who loses jobs because of her cynical, snide comments; but she’s a true journalist who will do anything for a story, anything!  But her life in search of the award-winning story is about to go ballistic!

Alessandro gets pulled into the middle of a crowd of thousands awaiting the arrival of Demiel ben Yusef for his trial.  For he is accused of being a terrorist responsible for the murder and horrific suffering of people around where bombs have changed the life of millions.  Some think him a demon; others revere him as the “Son of the Son of God.”  As he steps out of the van, he sees Alessandra and leaves her with something that turns her into an instant celebrity, but reporters see her as an accomplice or a nutty follower.  Either way, they think Alessandra knows something that could contribute one way or another to a guilty or innocent verdict. Yusef himself, once he has been seated for the trial, refuses to defend himself.  On the way out of the first day’s proceedings, he quietly passes a verbal message to Alessandra.  Now she’s in big trouble for she’s a hunted woman and even more so after her editor completely rewrites her article, leading to a fight and her being fired!  Worse, she has to go somewhere other than home because she is no longer safe!

The story progresses with a priest, former CIA agent, another older priest, and many more characters all sent by “them” or an organization seeking a relic that could prove Yusef really is a divine human.  For it seems that thirty-three years ago, some cloned Yusef from the actual blood of Jesus Christ.  Now, there is a search for DNA evidence plus a relic that could change the world and prove Yusef’s innocence, allowing him to “save the world.”  The journey takes Alessandra through Italy, France, Turkey, and other places in hair-raising scenes as someone else from an opposition group is out to find the relic first and/or kill her. The plot races along, as the reader attempts to follow hair-raising, tension-filled, illuminating but frightening scenes.  It’s like being on the most terrifying roller-coaster ride of your life!

All in all, however, this novel is an enigma.  The involvement of terrorists, the Catholic Church, mad scientists, Mary the Mother of God, the Templars, the Cathars, (considered a heretic sect of Catholicism at the time), upscale technology used for cloning, murder, and blackouts and more after a while truly stretches the plot so far as to seem less than credible, but this is fiction, right?

Since Dan Brown started this type of fiction, there have been many spin-offs of the “quest” for the Holy One, and this story goes one step further.  Alessandra spins back and forth from atheism, agnosticism, and awed belief like a spinning top that makes one truly, truly wonder how she became the “Chosen One.”  Dreams, groups bowing down before her, etc. clash wildly with her constantly sarcastic comments or thoughts.  The ending is surprising and one wonders if all this questing just crashed out of fatigue from the frenetic pace carried over 300 pages or if there will be a sequel to tie all the loose ends together. Hmmm…

If you love adventure, a good mystery, some historical connection, some religious inspiration, this is your next read for sure!  Inspiration – not – too much busyness and craziness that stretches the certainty of even those filled with unshakable faith!  You can’t stop reading, in spite of it all and for that, Lisa Stasi deserves some kudos and some “downers” before she writes a sequel!

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