Sanctus by Simon Toyne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book is perfect for anyone who loved Da Vinci Code, Labyrinth or any other in the "there's a deep, dark secret that the Church doesn't want us to know about"/Templars genre.
Ruin is a city in Turkey, home to the Citadel, an ancient mountain/religious stronghold. Mystery surrounds it, as the inhabitants are essentially sealed inside with no contact with the rest of the world. One rule seems to be that the monks who join have no outside "distractions" in the way of family, but somehow one has slipped through - Brother Samuel.
Brother Samuel has reached the highest pinnacle of the order, and learned the secret of the Sacrament. It's unclear what happens next, but he ends up in a dungeon, from which he escapes by climbing up to the top of the Citadel. The next morning, he stands on top of the mountain, holding himself in the sign of the Tau, and then launching himself off the top 1000 feet to the ground, just outside the Citadel's sphere of influence.
After that the mystery of what caused him to so publicly commit suicide, what the scarring on his body means, what the Sacrament is, and why the Citadel is so anxious to protect it takes off. Unlike most of the books in this genre, the mystery isn't held by the Church nor would it necessarily destroy it - it predates all of that by millennia. Apparently this is going to be a trilogy, but this book seems pretty complete to me. And, as with all of this type of book, the prose and the leaps of faith (no pun intended) are a little overwhelming.
ARC provided by publisher.