On the surface of this Christmas mystery, Victor Narraway and his wife Lady Vespasia (two of my favourite Perry characters) travel to Jerusalem for Christmas. En route, at their hotel in Jaffa, they run across an interesting older gentleman who hands them a parchment to deliver in Jerusalem just before he is killed by a mysterious figure "The Watcher". The story morphs into a Dali like journey of deserts and death, faith defined and refined, and deepening spiritual mysteries.
Following the theme of the wise men seeking truth and wonderment as they track the star that lead them to Bethlehem, Narraway and Vespasia embark on a similar journey, followed by the dark watcher. Along the way they are joined by another.
Three pieces of parchment, and the truth for all mankind, are part of this journey.
Narraway and Vespasia are confronted by their own beliefs and the gradual refining of them.
A simple story of intrigue that cloaks hidden inner meanings of the mystical and faith surrounding the Christmas message and all that followed.
A very different story from what I expected, challenging and thought provoking, reflecting much of Perry's own faith base.
The title sums up the depth and breadth of what this story contains. I found it a fascinating treatise on the Christian message.
I was struck that it is Narraway, ex head of Special Branch and Lady Vespasia, a force in her own right, both mature people, with years of the ability and shrewdness, including being able to mark the difference between the false and the genuine, who are the chosen to encounter this very different journey.
Who is the watcher, what is the stick he carries, seemingly he's supernatural at times and yet able to be injured. What is he watching for?
A mystery on many levels with faint echoes of Dan Brown.
I found this story stuck with me long after reading.
A NetGalley ARC